Power Stopped Over One Cent

Sometimes a penny can cost a lot.

A Flint, Michigan resident got her power shut off for seven hours because her payment on her bill of $1,662.08 was short one Abraham Lincoln.

Jacqueline Williams, 41, a receiver of Social Security, got the state Department of Human Services to chip in $800.75. The Salvation Army gave her $430.67, which her energy supplier matched for $430.66: one penny away from solvency.

“A Consumers Energy spokesman said that the utility had no choice in the matter, though he was not aware of any similar incidents where service was stopped for one cent,” reports the AP.

Williams said she doesn’t want to get into the same mess again. “I’m praying to God I stay on top of my bills,” she said.

Maybe next time she’s down on her knees she’ll find a shiny penny. Will she pick it up? Or will the state have to do it for her?

(Thanks to Brandon!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. P33KAJ3W says:

    She runs up a bill for $1,662.08
    Tax payers like me paid $800.75 of it
    Salvation Army gave her $430.67
    Her power company matched for $430.66

    She could not afford 1 fucking cent.

    I am so glad it was shut off, I hope it was very cold.

  2. Bubba Barney says:

    Yah, I was wondering, how does one rack up a $1600+ electric bill.

  3. Morgan says:

    Yeah, I’m kinda thinking it would be more efficient to take that time you’re spending praying to God about your bills and spend it on actually taking care of the bills before they reach 1,662.08. I don’t know what power prices are in the frozen wastes of Michigan (and the fact that, living in Southern California, I don’t ever have to use my heater may well distort my expectations when in comes to power bills), but I assume she had to have been ignoring bills for at least 4 months before she’d run up a tab like that.

  4. mikelite says:

    wow, this is a great crowd. Really supportive and non-judgemental.

  5. CTSLICK says:

    That is one whopper of a bill, I don’t pretend to understand how it got racked up or how she came to need the assistance of so many folks to pay it off. It could be that she has a history of billing issues beyond what we are reading here. Whatever the case the power company is almost always going to come across as the bad guy in this situation. The statement from the Consumers Energy spokesman “that the utility had no choice in the matter…” doesn’t help either. I say they did have a choice and they made it…they shut off her power. Statements like “they had no choice” just makes them sound pathetic and petty.

  6. OkiMike says:

    Hell, I run the A/C 24/7 here in Okinawa because it’s so fucking hot, yet my monthly bill is only $60. How much more if I add constant XBOX 360ing, a large HDTV, a synthesizer, a computer with 3 external hard drives always on the go and do a load of laundry every single day? $90 tops.

  7. Coco Schwab says:

    no sympathy. not only did tax money go to help her, like p33kaj3w said, but we get to overpay our electric bills so the utility company can pay part of hers?

    totally awesome. i’m so glad i bust my ass every week so she can have power.

  8. Bubba Barney says:

    Well, she is on Social Security:

    ‘Williams, a Social Security recipient, went to the Salvation Army, where she received $430.67, and Consumers agreed to match $430.66 toward the bill.’


  9. matto says:

    dear ben; can we have a follow-up story on how your employed, tax-paying readers can also have $1600 bills paid for them? We’ll handle the last cent, we promise!

  10. Paul D says:



    Your share of the tax money that helped her pay the bill was likely a fraction of one Abraham Lincoln (maybe his nose, or his ear).

    None of us knows how the bill got that big. There are any number of reasons for it. Let’s settle down and show a little compassion, or at the very least the benefit of the doubt.

    Yeah, wishing she freezes to death. That’s … that’s just great.

  11. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    It seems to me that people here haven’t really had to ummm…I don’t know pay a bill maybe ever. Chances are she did let the bill go for a few months, not good, but whatever, it happens. It’s not inconceivable that during the winter in flint michigan a power bill could top $600 a month. Large old house, inefficient furnace, poor insulation and single pane windows. It’s not out of the realm. I’d imagine that the real gaffe here is the power company kicking in and then nabbing her for the 1 cent off. They clearly knew she was in trouble, it’s just someone not making a note somewhere.