Gun Lake pizza shop hit with $20K electric bill

Barry County

YANKEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Gun Lake-area pizza shop is fighting an electric bill for close to $20,000.

Mitten Pizza LLC on Chief Noonday Road north of the lake has been locally owned since 2015. Since then, the electric bill has been just under $500 every month.

But last month, the bill from Great Lakes Energy was for $19,795.74.

Mitten Pizzeria
Mitten Pizzeria near Gun Lake. (Sept. 30, 2019)

Owner Jamie Zichterman told News 8 that Great Lakes Energy explained it failed to read a second meter on the property for years. Now it’s charging him for the “correct” difference owed for the past year. 

“We budget off our bills,” Zichterman said. “I was getting a bill every month and we paid it every month. If I knew it was going to be $1,800 or $2,500 a month, that’s fine, I’m happy to pay what we use, but I need to know about it. I could have had two less people per shift and we would have made the money.”

The billing statement says he needs to dish up the dough by Tuesday. He said he can’t afford such a large bill and is considering closing up shop.

“We always work with our members. We are an electric cooperative,” a spokesperson for Great Lakes Energy told News 8 over the phone Monday.

News 8 called the Boyne City-based utility to find out if it was willing to reduce the amount it’s asking for because it was the company’s fault.

“Any type of specific account information, we would need to discuss that with the member business, with Mitten Pizza,” the spokesperson replied.

The company wouldn’t go into any details, but said it is trying to work with the owner.

In the meantime, community members have already offered to raise money to save the pizza shop. Zichterman had shared a photo of the bill on his business’s Facebook page and in a couple of hours, there were hundreds of shares and comments.

“A buddy of mine told me a long time ago that as long as you take care of the community around you, they will take care of you as well and it’s definitely true,” Zichterman said.

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