My parents (who are on a fixed income) started renting this house from me a few years ago. They have a small to medium sized dog that runs around in the backyard which is also where the electric meter is located. Well after a few months they start to notice that the electric bill was rather cheap and just when they started to look into it they were hit with a crazy huge bill. I do not have the bill in front of me but I do know that it was in excess of $1000. Now for 2 people on a fixed income like them this is a major blow to the check book. Started making phone calls to DTE to try and find out what happened. Well come to find out the meter reader saw a dog in the backyard and decided to estimate the bill…..for several months! Now to make matters worse they wwaaayyyy under estimated the bill. So when the meter reader finally did read the meter the numbers were way off and they back charged for past few months. Now this is my problem with the whole situation. I understand that if a dog is in the yard the meter reader will not enter the yard and for good reason. However, would it have killed him to go to the door and ask for the dog to be put inside. I mean if not on the first visit maybe the second or third. Customer services answer to this was that they make a phone call to let you know when somebody will be in your area checking meters and to have your dog locked up. Well I get that phone call at 9AM Tuesday lets say, and the meter reader shows up at 3PM on Wednesday. Were they supposed to keep the dog inside for over 24 hours??? Just ask to put the dog inside, its pretty simple heaven forbid these companies communicate on a personal level with custmers. By the way (now that it is several months later) the meter reader comes to the door every now and then and asks to put the dog away while he reads the meter. Moving along! Well since DTE estimated the bill they back charged for the past months. Well we reviewed the past bills that had “actual readings” (meter reader actually read the meter) and noticed that DTE’s “estimates” were way off. The actual readings were much higher then what DTE was using for the estimate apparently because according to my calculations the average would have been much higher. Meaning the estimated bills that my parents got over the course of several months would have been higher resulting in a way smaller back payment if they had one at all. Customer service stated that they use a computer program to figure the estimated bill. Well that program is broke because I can take a piece of paper and figure out an average why can’t your computer program??? Customer service had no answer for this. Could your program have a glitch? No answer for this either. Final result is my parents paid the huge bill over time by enrolling in the budget program. DTE figured the current huge bill put together with future bills and settled on a budget bill of around $213 a month. That was several years ago. The bill has been settled and the budget amount hasn’t changed. Now $213 a month for a retired couple is crazy. They don’t have any crazy appliances they don’t have a meth lab going in the house so why the high bill. Customer service can’t answer this. Sent a tech out and everything checks out. Lowered the bill? NOPE! Just proves that DTE can charge any price they want and you have to pay it. What are the alternatives? Can’t go to another company! You ask to talk to a supervisor and they don’t have them..which I don’t understand. Trying to tell me a group of customer service people have nobody to report to at work. I want that job! Suming up this whole thing in a few paragraphs is very hard and makes my blood boil just thinking about it but can’t somebody do something. I mean the government broke up the steel company way back in the day can’t they do that here. Didn’t the phone company go thru the same thing? The only thing I can figure is that DTE has to figure out a way to pay their employees crazy salaries.
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