Hey, Consumers Energy! The last couple months I noticed my meter read was estimated. What’s going on?
The great thing about smart meters is the ability to read your meter remotely and provide you more visibility to your daily use and ultimately, control of your energy bill. While we strive to get actual meter reads every month, sometimes that is not possible for a variety of reason, including:
- Unplanned service outage when your monthly data was being read
- System issues between your meter and our software
- Communication network (our cellular network provider) outage while performing maintenance
- Your meter is damaged or not working
- We tried to read your meter in person but were not able to safely get to it
In addition, there is a known issue impacting about 180,000 electric meters, which is causing estimated reads. As part of a planned upgrade, our service provider disabled its 3G network in January. We upgraded hundreds of thousands of meters over the last two years in preparation for this change, but due to ongoing supply chain issues throughout the energy industry, we were not able to replace all meters before service was turned off.
We do expect to have all remaining meters replaced this year. In the meantime, our company and contract employees are manually reading the meters. Despite our best efforts, some customers will receive estimated bills during the upgrade process. The customers impacted by this situation are being communicated to directly.
While we strive to have estimated bills match actual use, many variables such as weather, usage changes and participation in some programs can impact current use compared to past use. Once an actual read is taken, the bill will be updated accordingly – if estimates are lower than actual use, customers will be billed for the difference, if estimates are higher than actual use, customers will receive an adjustment.
If you ever receive back-to-back estimated bills, you will have the same number of months to pay any difference once the meter is able to be read. This means if your bill is estimated three months in a row, when you receive your first ‘true’ bill you will have three months to pay any amount over what we estimated. As always, if customers need to set up payment arrangements for their bill, they can call us 800-477-5050.
If your meter is displaying a digital read, you can send a photo of it to ReportMyRead@cmsenergy.com and we will update your bill.
Here is more information on how we read meters.
If you need assistance paying your bill this winter, check out this blog: