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Power Shut Off After Woman Owes a Penny

FLINT, Mich. - It was just a penny, but to Consumers Energy it was enough to cut off power in a local home. Jacqueline Williams, 41, of Flint had an electricity bill of $1,662.08 and paid all of it, except for one cent. That wasn't enough for the power company, which blacked her out for seven hours Wednesday.


The CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary told Williams the power would not be turned on until the penny was received.

"I went down there, paid my penny and got a receipt," Williams told The Flint Journal.

Shortly after, the electricity was turned back on.

"All of this for one penny," said Williams, who went to the state Department of Human Services for help in April and was told the agency would pay most of the bill.

But she was still short more than $500.

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.

However, she was still one cent short.

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.

"This was the first one I've heard about," said Terry DeDoes. He said the company has many programs to help people who fall behind in their utility bills.

Williams said she doesn't want to find herself in the same situation again.

"I'm praying to God I stay on top of my bills," she said.


Now this is something, But I guess business is business, You can't blame the guy who did this since he was only following orders from Big Bubba.
Yeah, this does seem like an extreme case, but where do you draw the line? What if she owed a dollar? That's not much. Ten dollars - is that enough to leave someone without heat and light? 20 dollars...?

As you can see, the list could go on. In fairness to the company involved if they have a policy where the entire balance has to be paid, if it's not (even if it's only one penny short) then they have the right to cut off the electricity. The real question you have to ask is "why did the woman not pay the extra penny in the first place?" - she obviously had access to one.
The whole idea of our Country was that it was supposed to make sense.

The laws are in place to "insure domestic tranquillity".

When someone shuts off the power over a penny, make no mistake about it, that PISS ANT is a terrorist.

Today there is a great many "Americans" who sit on the "other side of the TV screen" and they perpetrate frauds on the American people upon their guise that they are "going by the law" and "protecting us".

When Hitler got totally rediculous the correction came from outside his Country and the piss ants who are continually doing JUST PLAIN STUPID THINGS for all the "legal reasons" are going to be the cause if that ever happens to us.

Will they EVER take responsibility? Of course not, that is what makes them the PISS ANTS that they are.

Thanks for listening.
This really reaks because even in the case of the federal governemnt if your tax is under a dollar you don't have to pay!

I'm also pretty certain that they have that checkbox on the bill where customers can pay an extra dollar to help those in need, so the company wasn't out any money you just know that's where they got the funds!

I don't blame the guy cutting the juice , because at work I've had similar stupid rules that I must follow -- we all have or will have but the nerve of a utility like that. I'm sure they could have squeezed one more penny out of their tight wad!
My dad pays like 20% of his dsl/phone bill every month and he owes about $550 (i saw the statement) His have never been shut off...

So.. This is redicculous =/
It would be reasonable if the process was automated and a machine cuts your power if your money payed is less than the bill without checking or caring about how much, but a person should at least let her know before they cut the power...
That's dumb to turn off someone power for 1 penny. They could of proberly go around there office and see 1 penny on the floor and put it in your account. That really makes no sense to cut the power off just because someone owes you 1 penny.
I wrote an entry in my journal about this story, and the thing that really aggravated me so much about the whole situation was that the electric company sent the guys out to her house twice to turn her power off and back on again. Which... is a supreme waste of money, considering the price of gas nowadays, and the fact that they could've just added another penny onto her next month's bill and been done with the whole thing.
Citizen Kane
CrimsonStrange wrote:
I wrote an entry in my journal about this story, and the thing that really aggravated me so much about the whole situation was that the electric company sent the guys out to her house twice to turn her power off and back on again. Which... is a supreme waste of money, considering the price of gas nowadays, and the fact that they could've just added another penny onto her next month's bill and been done with the whole thing.

I agree, it would be much cheaper to look for that penny in the pockets of an employee than to shut her down. This sure reeks of a big firm trying to make someone an example.

I recently worked for a dutch Energy provider (Essent) at the customer service and we never did shut down people If there was a penny left on the bill. Even making the reminder would cost more than that. So whoever made this decision must have been very frustrated that day.
I love your icon, Citizen Kane!! (Daffy's my favorite)

Yeah, it almost seems vindictive to do something like that, since she went through Social Services and several other outlets to get the money, indicating that she clearly needed serious financial help in the first place.
Personally, I think she was made an example of for those who've been calling up that particular electric company, complaining about their bill.
As for the question, Why didn't she just give them the penny?, she probably didn't know about it until after they turned her power off. I've gotten help from Social Services before, and once you file your petition for heating/cooling assistance, if you're approved, you really don't do anything else - it's all handled by Social Services and the organization donating the money.

I know how hard and oftentimes heartbreaking it is to desperately search for help, knowing full well that if the lights get turned off, you'll never be able to come up with the back-owed amount plus the re-connect fee to get them back on again. I'm also personally familiar with the procedures of a lot of companies' billing systems and how usually, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing when it comes to communications.
The amount of paperwork you must supply to the electric company (in my area) in order to get an extension on your light bill is just... unreal.

On any given month, I can call my electric company to ask for a remaining balance on my bill, and I'll get transferred to 3 different secretaries who all give me 3 different amounts for the same billing period, and no matter what I say, I simply cannot seem to get in touch (on the phone) with anybody from the corporate office.

So, I do empathize with Jacqueline Williams, but I fear that she'll wind up going through a similar situation before the end of this year.
I agree with animal that was extream but live happens good story though.
I agree with the power company, wait until they are old, feeble, and poor, then hit them with the buggery hard and fast.
Thats mean its a penny.
TeenZine wrote:
Thats mean its a penny.

I know, But big companies account every cent and hold the employee that was supposed to collect it responsible if one cent is missing and money is deducted from their pay.

Perhaps the guy should have gave the penny, I dont know but one thing that I can say, I see pennies on the ground everyday. So I doubt the lady would have had any problems finding a penny.
....Thats just greed right there. Thats prolly the only reason why they wanted the money. Large companies are always after money. I feel sorry for the lady.
The order to shutdown was probably generated by a computer, so I don't think that there is any "conspiracy" to it.
There was a elderly couple in Australia who were charged 2c for a electricity bill and were threatened to have it switched off. We don't have a 2c coin anymore...they gave the electric company the 2c, but they didn't accept it.

Now that is piss weak.
I've always hated by-the-book goody goodies =/ Especially in teachers... all anal-retentive as hell... Confused

But damj's probably right, it was probably a system that ordered the shutdown =/
That sucks for that lady, I would probably send them hate mail for all the trouble to go through to pay them one cent. Seriously, it probably cost them more in ink and computer paper than one cent. It would make sense if it was automated though. Since computers aren't as people savy as people Smile
damj wrote:
The order to shutdown was probably generated by a computer, so I don't think that there is any "conspiracy" to it.

That's probably likely, however, I think SOMEONE has to review stuff before just shutting off power Razz Wouldnt want a computer bug to start randomly shutting off powerr to stuff.
well that just shows you how greedy companies can get, I mean we are talking here one cent!!! LOL, ah well guess that is the world we live in today!
It reminds me of the story about the nail:

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
automated systems, automated people. welcome to the transistor jungle
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