Michigan Utility Company Must Refund $39 Million To Overcharged Customers

Michigan Utility Company Must Refund $39 Million To Overcharged Customers

In Michigan, utilities can increase rates without first getting approval, but that means the Michigan Public Service Commission can later reduce them. That’s what happened on Monday, when the Commission ordered Consumers Energy to refund about $39.6 million to customers it overcharged since last May.

Ohio Public Utilities Commission Delays Potentially Evil Expensive Light Bulb Program

Ohio Public Utilities Commission Delays Potentially Evil Expensive Light Bulb Program

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has announced that they are asking FirstEnergy, the utlility company that was going to force its customers to pay $10.80 per light bulb as part of an energy-saving program, to delay the implementation of said program until they can figure out what the %#$& was going on.

FirstEnergy Forces Light Bulbs On Customers For $10.80 Each

FirstEnergy Forces Light Bulbs On Customers For $10.80 Each

Hey, who doesn’t like to get free stuff from the power company? So it’s awfully nice of Ohio utility FirstEnergy to deliver compact fluorescent bulbs to their customers’ homes. Except for the part where the bulbs aren’t free, and customers are being forced to pay nearly five times the retail price of the bulbs.

Lower Energy Prices Could Mean Lower Electric Bills For Consumers, Or Maybe Not

Lower Energy Prices Could Mean Lower Electric Bills For Consumers, Or Maybe Not

Having trouble paying your high power bill? The law of supply and demand may be your friend. Americans’ electricity use is decreasing for the first time since 1949. (Maybe it’s all those compact fluorescent bulbs.) This means that your electric bill could be slightly lower in the coming months…or at least not increase as much as usual.

Utility Claims 99-Year-Old Used 139,876 Gallons Of Water In 1 Month

Utility Claims 99-Year-Old Used 139,876 Gallons Of Water In 1 Month

Meet 99-year-old Jeanette Cohen, a Washington resident who either lives in her shower or is the recipient of the more bizarre bills spat out by the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority. Cohen normally pays $30 to use about 3,000 gallons per month, but the utility insists that she used 139,876 gallons of water last month and now owes almost $1,200.

Smart Power Grid Will Drop Knowledge On Indiana

Smart Power Grid Will Drop Knowledge On Indiana

Duke Energy plans on bringing the smartest thing to Indiana since Keith. It’s a “smart” power grid that lets customers keep daily tabs on energy usage and tips Duke off when power outages occur. The grid upgrade will cost the company — and in turn, possibly customers, although Duke is applying for federal stimulus funds that would fund the project — $445 million and more than five years to roll out. Hey, nobody said the future would be cheap or come quickly.

No Charges In Case Of Utility Freezing 93-Year-Old To Death

No Charges In Case Of Utility Freezing 93-Year-Old To Death

No charges will be filed in the case of a 93-year old Michigan man who froze to death after the utility company put a malfunctioning electricity limiter on his house.

Here's A Cheap Way To Install Solar Panels On Your House

Here's A Cheap Way To Install Solar Panels On Your House

Cool Tools has an interesting suggestion for home owners who want to incorporate solar technology, but can’t afford the steep investment costs: let the solar panel company finance it for you. The trade-off is you won’t save as much money as you would if you paid for them outright, but you will save some money, and the company that’s paying for the panels has a financial incentive to keep them working properly over the course of the agreement.

ConEd Hikes Rates, But Consumers Could Still See Lower Bills

ConEd Hikes Rates, But Consumers Could Still See Lower Bills

ConEd has just what you need in the middle of recession: a rate hike! Monthly bills are set to rise between $6-$8 as the energy monster tries to recoup a half a billion dollars to cover the cost of higher property taxes and the usual infrastructure maintenance that utilities never budget for in advance. The perennial optimists at the New York Post still somehow think you’ll still end up with a lower bill…

Power Trip: Interactive Map Shows the U.S. Electric Grid

Power Trip: Interactive Map Shows the U.S. Electric Grid

This is the weirdest weather map you’ve ever seen. Sort of. It shows the solar power capacity of different regions of the U.S. It’s the coolest-looking slide from an interactive map compiled by NPR to illustrate this week’s series about America’s power grid. It shows power sources and where they’re located, and also the larger infrastructure that carries our electricity from those sources to our homes.

IDT Employees Stalking The Streets Of Queens Today

IDT Employees Stalking The Streets Of Queens Today

Lock your doors, Queens residents! IDT zombies are on the prowl in your borough, and if they catch you they’ll try to eat your ConEd account and replace it with their more expensive offer. Jeff says there’s one outside his building right now, trying to buzz its way in.

Do Electricity Monitors Like The "Kill A Watt" Really Work?

Do Electricity Monitors Like The "Kill A Watt" Really Work?

If you’re concerned about your electricity use you may have considered getting one of those energy monitoring devices like the “Kill a Watt” or the “Watts Up.” But do they really work?

Energy Company Debits $1.28 Million From Your Bank Account

Energy Company Debits $1.28 Million From Your Bank Account

Guess what happens when you don’t look closely at your bill? Your energy company debits $1.28 million dollars from your bank account — leaving you a million dollars overdrawn.

Utility Freezes 93-Year-Old To Death For Overdue Bill

Utility Freezes 93-Year-Old To Death For Overdue Bill

UPDATE: No Charges In Case Of Utility Freezing 93-Year-Old To Death

Village Sends Woman $3600 Water Bill

Village Sends Woman $3600 Water Bill

Here’s another good reason to monitor your utility bills. A woman in Illinois saw her quarterly water bill shoot from $150 on average to $3600, after the village where she lives finally fixed a broken outside meter that for 25 years misreported her home’s water usage.

How To Read A Water Meter

How To Read A Water Meter

To make sure you’re paying the right amount on your monthly water bill, you should know how to read your water meter and compare it to the amount your utility company thinks it should charge you. As several readers pointed out previously, in some cities you can even do your own meter reading and call in the number each month. “But how do I read my water meter?” Here’s how.

Save On Utility Bills With Lo-Flow Showerheads

Save On Utility Bills With Lo-Flow Showerheads

Popular Mechanics has 19 ways to cut your utility bill. One that saves a decent chunk of change is is installing low-flow shower heads, with an estimated monthly savings of $15. [Popular Mechanics] (Thanks to Robert!)(Photo: SA_Steve)

How To Get Utilities And Phone Service Without Giving Up Your SSN

How To Get Utilities And Phone Service Without Giving Up Your SSN

As several readers discussed in yesterday’s post, utility, phone, and cable companies usually require your Social Security number in order to perform a credit check before activating service. You don’t have to provide it, but they don’t have to extend their services to you either. Here’s one reader’s explanation of how he was able to turn on water, electricity, gas, and an AT&T land line without turning over his SSN.