DTE ENERGY is overestimating us out of house and home
Have you ever actually looked at your utility bill? I mean, really in depth, looked at it? Like kissy face, mhwhh mhwhh, Oh DTE, I wanna marry you and have your little gaseous electrobunny babies? Most people don't give the bill the attention it deserves. Are you one of them? Do you merely cringe, and go online to pay it (or break out the old fashion checkbook and stamp)?
Regardless, it is very important to make sure that A) your readings are actual, or B) if they are estimated, then that the company is doing a fair and balanced projection. Otherwise THEY are winning and you should just piss your money down the drain. For those like us, who move around yearly, and are never in one place long enough for the company to use our previous year's usage to estimate the current season's, well we are just SOL.
Below see the story of two graduate students who move yearly or bi-yearly and how DTE energy hopes to skate by, and sort of does, then sort of doesn't.
My husband and I are super super cheap when it comes to energy. We never set the thermostat above 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, and sometimes not above 45. We put on sweaters and cuddle dogs.
This year I have had to call DTE at least 8 times to correct our overestimated bill.
You can enter your own meter reading online. If, however, you miss the target deadline for meter-entering you have to contact DTE directly because there is a window of about 5 days during which you can enter your own reading. Contacting them directly, especially sucks when your cell phone does not work in your semi-subterranean concrete-as-all-get-out apartment complex.
Have I mentioned that A) we don't have a land line and B) we get all our energy bills online now. So to place a call to DTE I have to take my laptop outside (because you need your friggen account number), stand by the meter to read the current number (unless you were smarter than me and wrote it down, or typed it up on the open MSword file), and press a multitude of numbers on your phone to finally get a person. No, dear automated caller system, I am not calling to find out how much I owe. I will not press 1!!! I know how much I owe and it is incorrect!
After 6 calls, silly me finally discovered how to email customer service. Not nearly as satisfying as a real person, but what the hey. I can't believe this took me so long since my preferred method of communication is email.
Let's backtrack for a moment however, and go back to the start of September, when the first call (after the initial to set up service) to DTE was placed.
DTE: "Why don't you go ahead and give me your reading." pause click click "OK, your new amount is 35.00."
After 8 months, this situation is still ongoing. If they never took a reading I would put the date on my calendar and be sure to enter my own reading. The problem is, that they take enough readings (about every 2 months) for me to forget to read. It's not worth my while to stay on top of the date and read, then enter it within the "window of opportunity." So by the time the bill comes and we've used 0-5ccfs, they have us estimated for 20-70. WTF? WTF?
Finally in frustration, I emailed my representatives SenLBrater@senate.michigan.gov, email@example.com. They recommended filing a complaint with the PSC at http://michigan.gov/mpsc/0,1607,7-159-16368---,00.html (there is a complaint link along the left-hand side).
After filing my complaint, a very personable representative from DTE contacted me and "investigated" the problem. She found that the readers were coming out but for some reason the company wasn't using the readings. Go figure? I sure don't get it! She has designated our address as a "hot spot" and hopes the problem is fixed. We'll see next month.
On the aside summary you can see in red everytime I had to call and the credit given to my account for overestimation. You can also get your yucks off if you're into looking at how much gas a person uses (like none for many of the winter months).
Our main bones with dte: What does the basic service entail if not a meter read once a month? We don't live in the boonies but in the middle of Ann Arbor. I also shouldn't be out the time, energy (no pun intended), and emotional drainage this situation has caused. Who has an extra $100 (or $400) for them to catch up with you eventually? I sure don't. What other service do we pay for that we don't use? If you are having problems like this, I urge you to contact State officials to let them know, and work for a more fair system for the consumers. Practices like these should frankly be illegal.