Saturday, February 10, 2018

Huge Electric Bill Increases: What to Do

Has your electric bill gone up significantly at any point since a smart meter was installed on your home? It has for many people (see previous posts on this blog). Make your voice heard to the legislators and the Michigan Public Service Commission.  What you need to show is that your bill increased significantly—some people have seen $20,000 to $34,000 bills for one month of electricty usage, others spikes of several hundred dollars. Links: Fox17 report on Consumers. Write to the following:

Due to the cold we experienced in December and January, your heating bill (and probably your electric bill, even if you have gas heat) will likely have increased over the same time last year. That said, if your bill has gone up hundreds of dollars, you can be almost certain that the smart meter is the culprit.

How do you show this? It is very easy to do. Look at the kWh usage that shows on the front of the bill and compares to the same period last year. Then look at bills from earlier years. How much has your kWh usage changed? Bills can fluctuate due to costs, but if your kWh usage has changed significantly, you are either running new equipment in your home or your meter is not accurately recording usage. When you write the legislators, you can tell them about both your cost increase and your usage increase.

The information on the front of the bill is not the amount your bill has increased from previous years, but the amount your energy consumption has changed.  Here is DTE's How to Read a Bill.

Also, if you have gas heat, see whether the gas usage has gone up. If it has, what is it compared to the electric. My guess is, your guess has gone up (because it was so cold), but your electric has increased way, way more. If you aren't using space heaters or runing new equipment, then you can bet the meter is not recording your actual usage. See this letter I wrote to the Energy Committee.

Make sure you are clear that you have a smart electric meter on your home. Be sure to tell the legislators and the MPSC whether you use electric or gas heat. I suggest that if you have gas heat, you look at how much your CCF usage has increased over last year. If you have gas heat, the usage increase is almost certainly accurate, because while the gas smart meter transmits wirelessly, your gas usage is still measured on an analog basis. For instance, my gas CCF usage went up 77% over my usage the prior year. But my electric usage went up 144%!  How is it that with gas heat, my  electric usagewent up twice as much as my gas usage (especially when I have boiler heat)? It's a clear indication that the smart meter is cheating me.

Have you been running any new appliances? To determine if your bill has gone up for reasons other than an increase in electricity costs, figure out the following. This isn’t difficult, it just takes a lot of words to explain. For the legislature and the MPSC to see through the smokescreens, we need evidence!

  1. Have you been running anything new (for example, computer, electric heater, appliance) that you did not run in prior years?
  2. If you have a gas or electric furnace, is the fan set to "On" or to "Auto"? If it's set to "On," this means it is running all the time, not just when the furnace is on, and this could increase your bill significantly.
  3. Have you been running anything more often than you have in past years?
  4. If you have, you can determine how many kWh have been used by looking up your product online. For example, If your heater has a 1000 watt rating and your cost of electricity is $0.080350/Kwh your cost to operate for one hour would be $0.08. If you ran the heater 24/7, it would cost you $1.60 per day, or $50 per month.
  5. Compare the kWh charges for this bill to bills from the same months in previous years. If the charges are different, compute what the charges for the old bill would have been if you were being charged what you are being charged now.
  6. Next, look on the back of the bill under “Current Billing Information.” You will see “Days Billed.” Divide your total charges by the number of days you were billed for. That will give you your average daily rate.
  7. How different is this from previous years, computing previous years as if they were billed at the current rate?
  8. Keep all your computations.
  9. When you present your testimony orally or in writing, show how you arrived at your answer.
  10.  It is best to simply tell them how much your kWh usage has increased, according to DTE or Consumers.  What they record as kWh is what they use to compute your bill.
Just like math in school—not much fun for most of us, but essential!

A little more info not needed for the above, but FYI: Your electric bill consists of multiple parts. There is the kilowatt-hour charge. You will find this under the boldfaced “Power Supply Charges” on the back of your bill. Then there are the Delivery Charges, which are found below the Power Supply Charges. Like the Power Supply Charges, these are broken down into kWh charges.

House Energy Committee Emails


  1. I worked for dte and it all depends on the usage u use and after a certain amount of kWh it's at a lower cost then it will go up so yes if u running a space heater your bill will go up. So if u don't want a high bill turn off the space heater.

  2. Sure, we understand that. But here's the thing, and I'll take just myself as an example. I've lived in my house for 21 years, in all kinds of winter. I have NEVER had a reading that said I used this many kWh of ELECTRICITY in the winter. I have gas heat--boiler. It's been as cold as this some winters.

    And guess, what, my GAS bill lists only 77% greater usage than last year, vs electric of 140% greater. Not running space heaters.Run an oil-filled radiator no more than 5 hours a week, and have run that every year, sometimes for much more time than that (depends on client load). So--the meter, that black box that can be programmed any which way--is not accurately reporting my usage.

    Also, as discussed in this post, you can determine cost of running a heater. If I take the oil-filled radiator I have and ran it 24/7 for a month, that would bring me up to what DTE is saying I used. But I've used it for about 5 hours a week. Total of 20 hours--much less than the 720 hours there are in a month.

  3. My bill says I have used 2000 kW. For a month. That's is impossible because I live in a small apartment. When I talked to consumers. They said I have something that runs all the time. I'm not home half the time. An she said i don't use that much electric.. plz help. My bill went up $400 in two weeks

    1. Hi, person with huge bill increase. First of all, makes ure you write the Energy Committee members as outlined here:

      Second, please email us at

      Third, make sure you complaint to the MI Public Service Commission and your own state rep and senator. Ask your legislators for HELP.

      Fourth, contact news media. Sometimes they will help.

      When you write us, please send us scans of the bills. Tell us how long you have lived there. What was your bill last year? Send that, too. Do you run a space heater.

      And you are right, a bill like that is impossible for an apt. So please contact us and do all the above. It is how we create change.