FAQ

Welcome to Great Lakes Energy’s FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page. Have questions for us not listed here? Email us at [email protected] or call 888-GTLAKES (888-485-2537). Call center hours are 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Have questions for us not listed here? Email us at [email protected] or call 888-GTLAKES (888-485-2537).
Call center hours are 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

2023 Rate Adjustments

It is below both the state-wide average price for residential electricity (17.65 cents/kWh in Michigan) and the national average (14.92 cents/ kWh). Averages are based on April 2022 figures provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The residential/seasonal increase is $.00700 per kWh and $2.00 increase to the fixed monthly rate.

Adjustment details for additional rate classes can be found here.

The fully revised rate book can be reviewed here. This is for reference only. As always, the current rate book is accessible from the Account Information page.

The rate restructuring was developed after an in-depth rate review process that included a cost-of-service (COS) study conducted by third-party utility experts using established, well-accepted industry methods. The cost-of-service study showed that Great Lakes Energy’s rate structure did not accurately reflect the fixed and variable costs involved in providing electric service to our members.

We first established a projection for 2023 operating expenses, adding necessary margins for financial health. The cost of service study was contrasted against the 2023 projection, identifying gaps produced by inflation and rising electric generation costs. A series of top-to-bottom rate designs were then created and evaluated before arriving on the final model being proposed.

Throughout this process, the key factors used to determine a successful rate adjustment for our members were: maintaining affordability, the adjustments must be easily understandable, the rates must be able to remain stable, ensure the adjustments are cost-based, and fair.

The average residential/seasonal member who uses 800 kWh/month would pay an extra $7.90 a month. The average residential/seasonal member who uses 300 kWh/month would pay an extra $4.26 a month.

Adjustment details for additional rate classes can be found here.

The fully revised rate book can be reviewed here. This is for reference only. As always, the current rate book is accessible from the Account Information page.

The GLE board of directors approved these rate adjustments in September 2022. Members will see these changes beginning with their January 2023 bill.

Rising power supply costs and inflation are affecting our costs to provide service. The increase, although small, would raise revenues to provide sufficient funding levels for maintaining reliable electric service, providing adequate margins, and ensuring members receive the service they need to power their homes and businesses.

Material cost increases that are impacting our daily expenses shown below.

They are the normal operating expenses incurred by an electric cooperative in providing the service and value their members expect. Our fixed costs to serve our members are not related to how much electricity they use. These costs exist regardless if a member is a low or high user. The biggest share goes for poles, wires, transformers and other distribution system equipment along with labor, tree-trimming work and other distribution system improvements that allow us to provide safe and reliable electric service.  Other examples of expenses not related to kWh use include:

  • Fuel, vehicles, maintenance and related transportation costs for covering a service area that is one of the largest of all electric cooperatives in the country. Vehicles include bucket trucks that can cost over $200,000 apiece.
  • Labor, equipment, supplies and other fixed costs for operating eight local offices that help GLE respond more quickly to outages and provide better service to members.
  • Costs to maintain the member services, 24-hour emergency dispatch, metering, accounting and administrative functions for handling billing, outage calls, and other co-op services.

Costs for unexpected events, such as storm outage restoration expenses, depreciation on equipment, vehicles, etc.; interest on long-term loans, insurance, taxes and other normal business expenses.

Members vote for board members to represent them on the board of directors. The board of directors then makes decisions for rates. The open member meeting held on Sept. 21, 2022 allowed time for members to provide feedback and suggestions ahead of the board’s vote.

Billing & Rates

  • Power supply costs are included in your base rate. However, due to the fluctuation of costs for fuel used to produce power, your co-op’s power supply costs also fluctuate. The Power Supply Cost Recovery charge helps us collect or return revenue outside of what you pay in your base rate to cover those changing costs.

Great Lakes Energy offers several convenient Pay Your Way options  for paying your electric bill.

  • To set up an online account–which gives you access to options such as viewing your bill, seeing your usage history, reporting and outage or making a payment online, among others–go to gtlakes.com and click on My Account near the top of the screen. Create your username and password.
  • Want paperless billing? If so, sign up for it by logging into your account and enrolling in paperless billing. If you do not enroll in paperless billing, you will continue to receive mailed paper bills.
  • Do you prefer to pay through your bank’s online payment service? When setting that up with your bank, please record your full account number as it appears on your bill and list the payee as Great Lakes Energy Cooperative. If your account number changes for any reason, please verify the new account number and change it in your bank’s bill payment information.
  • Do you want to make payments on multiple accounts through your bank’s online payment service? Please call us at 1-888-485-2537 for additional information on how to set those accounts up in your bank’s online system to ensure payments get credited to the proper account.
  • To use the GLE mobile app, download the most recent app by visiting the app store. You must have an online account in order to use the app. Use it to report outages or service issues or to access information from your GLE online account.
  • Prefer to receive mailed paper bills and mail or deliver your payments to GLE? You don’t have to do a thing. GLE automatically mails bills to you unless you enroll in paperless billing.

For more payment options visit Pay Your Way.

Deposits are held for 12 months. GLE then reviews the account. If there has not been a late payment in that 12 months, the deposit is refunded as a credit on your bill.

​Great Lakes Energy does not offer any special rates. GLE is a cooperative, meaning every member is treated equal, has equal voting rights, and pays the same rate as others in the same rate classification. Seniors with limited income should find out if they qualify for one or more payment assistance programs available. 

Yes. Please note, however, that if the meter is inactive for less than 12 months, monthly charges will be back-billed and a reconnect fee of $40 will be charged. Monthly fees are back-billed to cover GLE’s cost of maintaining lines and equipment for a location whether or not it is in use. (For further information on the monthly charge, visit the Account Information page.) If a meter is inactive for more than 12 months, an inspection by the county is required upon reconnect and the $40 reconnect fee will be charged. 

Contact us at 1-888-485-2537 or [email protected] with any questions. Call center hours are 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The MI Low Income Energy Fund was established by the Michigan legislature as a long-term solution to assist low-income, at-risk residents with their utility bills. The intention is to provide funds to prevent disconnection of service and to help people become more energy self-sufficient. The program is funded by Michigan electric consumers with a line item on their utility bill. All GLE members will see the surcharge on their bill.

The surcharge amount is adjusted each September by the State of Michigan and cannot exceed $1 per month.

Michigan electric utilities have the option of not collecting this surcharge. However, utilities that choose not to participate in the program would be subject to the following:

  1. Their ability to implement normal collection procedures to handle delinquent accounts during the  heating season of Nov. 1 – April 1 would be limited.
  2. Qualifying low-income families they serve would be put at risk of not being able to obtain the Energy Fund assistance they need to get through the next heating season.

You pay only one monthly surcharge if the meters all have the same service address. The intent is to apply the surcharge to each metered account unless there are two meters at the same residential site. 

The intent is that funds collected from our members will only be distributed within our service area. The state’s plan is to collect money from our members and distribute it according to state guidelines within our service area.

We will follow our normal collection procedures, which include the last resort measure of disconnecting accounts for nonpayment if necessary. Members should contact us immediately if they have a past due balance on their account. We will work with them to help them avoid disconnection of service. Qualifying members, including those age 65 and older, can avoid shutoff during the heating season by enrolling in the state Winter Protection Plan.

Please contact your local state representative or senator. Visit Michigan.gov for more information.

About AutoPay

Payments can be made by automatic withdrawal from your checking, savings, debit or credit account. To use this method, call our office at 888-485-2537.

You will still receive a Great Lakes Energy billing statement (at least 10 days before it is due).

Each payment will be clearly itemized on your next GLE billing statement and financial institution account statement. You can also monitor your account 24/7 by setting up your online GLE account on our website, gtlakes.com.

Yes. However, federal regulations limit the number of transactions on some accounts. Contact your financial institution for information about your specific account.

No, we do not charge for this service. In fact, it’s the most cost-effective way for us to receive payments. Most financial institutions don’t charge either. Remember, they save time and money, too!

You will need to complete a new enrollment form and allow up to 30 days for the change to go into effect. If you decide to cancel your participation in the plan, simply give us a call.

Payment Assistance

The MI Low Income Energy Fund was established by the Michigan legislature as a long-term solution to assist low-income, at-risk residents with their utility bills. The intention is to provide funds to prevent disconnection of service and to help people become more energy self-sufficient. The program is funded by Michigan electric consumers with a line item on their utility bill. All GLE members will see the surcharge on their bill.

We will follow our normal collection procedures, which include the last resort measure of disconnecting accounts for nonpayment if necessary. Members should contact us immediately if they have a past due balance on their account. We will work with them to help them avoid disconnection of service. Qualifying members, including those age 65 and older, can avoid shutoff during the heating season by enrolling in the state Winter Protection Plan.

electrical working driving a truck

Outages

Report any outage 24/7 by calling 888-GTLAKES (888-485-2537), or login to your online account at my.gtlakes.com. You can also report an outage using the Great Lakes Energy mobile app. Please do not report your outage on social media channels as they are not monitored 24/7.

GLE’s meters are automated to record meter readings daily. They do not alert GLE when they are not working (i.e., if there’s an outage). If GLE suspects an outage at a particular location, we can “ping” or send a signal to the meter to discover if it is operating or not. This is helpful during outages to verify whether or not power has been restored.

Turn off your main breaker and contact GLE. Also, verify we have your correct phone number so that you receive an automated call back when we believe the issue has been corrected.

Your lights may blink for several reasons. The power line device that causes the lights to blink is an Oil Circuit Recloser (OCR) designed to automatically shut the power off for one or two seconds when a problem exists. These devices are used to avoid full outages when power interruptions stem from temporary causes. Some common examples are a tree branch on the line, lightning, or an animal momentarily contacting the line. Three to four blinks a month are normal; however, if you have a blink more often than every other day, that is not normal. Please call us at 888-GTLAKES (888-485-2537) so we can further investigate.

Scams

There are common scams that may try to trick you into giving your banking or personal information over the phone. When in doubt, please hang up and contact our office directly at 888-485-2537. You may also contact the authorities to report the scam.

Community Involvement

Energy Sources

GLE purchases all of its power from Wolverine Power Cooperative in Cadillac, MI. Wolverine is a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative owned by several other distribution cooperatives like GLE in Michigan.

GLE offers renewable energy programs to homeowners and businesses interested in renewable energy as a source of power. In addition, an educational solar power display stands at GLE’s Boyne City headquarters. Live data on display screen showing power being generated by the solar panels can be viewed in the lobby during regular business hours.

GLE Governance

Simply call 888-GTLAKES (888-485-2537) for more information on the qualifications for seeking a position on the Great Lakes Energy board. Board elections via mail-in ballot take place for specific districts each July and August.

Member Benefits

Operations/System Upkeep

GLE or its contractors remove vegetation within ROW for two primary reasons:

SAFETY: Vegetation that touches GLE lines can conduct electricity, making it dangerous for people and animals coming in contact. Also, if lines are down, they can be difficult to see in overgrown areas, which is also dangerous.

RELIABILITY: Vegetation-free ROW access means lineworkers can more quickly and safely make their way to lines and equipment that need repair or replacement.

The herbicide contractor directly notifies each property owner before any work commences to obtain the owner’s permission to apply herbicide. Visit the General Information page for more information.

Protruding objects like nails and staples can rip protective gloves, putting lineworkers who have to climb the poles at risk of being electrocuted. Lineworkers may not see a birdhouse, plant hanger or other object on the pole, either, causing them to slip and fall. Thank you for helping keep our workers safe!

On average, it costs about five times as much to install underground as overhead. Also, maintaining underground lines can be more challenging, and underground lines have a shorter lifespan than overhead lines.

GLE purchases all of its power from Wolverine Power Cooperative in Cadillac, MI. Wolverine is a generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative owned by several other distribution cooperatives like GLE in Michigan.

RF Meter Upgrades

The new meters being installed utilize radio frequency (RF) technology vs. the existing meters that use powerline carrier technology (PLC). The existing meters are close to 20 years old and utilize old technology.

The RF meters will provide more capabilities for GLE and our members to analyze their electric usage and then make decisions to modify their usage habits. These decisions can impact bills and allow us to offer different rate structures that may incentivize these decisions.

Benefits of the new meters also include:

  • Accurate 30-day billing cycles every month (including seasonal accounts).
  • Automatic outage notification. You no longer need to let us know if the power is out.
  • Elimination of false outage calls. No more unnecessary truck rolls.
  • Remote disconnects and reconnects.
  • Alarms for high/low voltage and other abnormalities, meaning situations are resolved faster.
  • Hourly billing data is available through your online account.
  • High-temperature warnings that can reduce chances of meter base damage.

Yes! In everyday life, people are continuously exposed to very low levels of natural and man-made radio frequency (RF) fields. Even the earth’s surface and the human body are constant sources of RF fields. RF exposures from digital meters are much lower than many other RF sources. For example, natural RF from the human body is 20 times greater, a Wi-Fi signal is 67 times greater, and a cell phone held to your ear is 12,677 times greater!

At 20 inches in front of a meter, the average exposure to radio frequency signals is less than the background RF signals naturally generated by the earth and less than one-seven-thousandth of the safe exposure standard set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Exposure to RF is significantly reduced by buildings. At one yard in front of the meter on a typical day, inside your home, your exposure is minuscule — more than 1.3 million times below the FCC safety standard.

 

Fact or Fiction: Smart Meter RF Emissions

Data is recorded every 15 minutes and sent on an hourly basis. Our RF meters emit power for less than one minute per day. Unlike cellular devices that signal quite frequently, these meters only transmit RF signals 1% of the time, in quick, short bursts.

In select cases, the meters could transmit RF signals for an extended period during a “maintenance mode,” in which the RF meter is updating information and can be transmitting RF signals for up to an hour. In these rare cases, RF levels still pale in comparison to a standard cell phone pinging continuously throughout the day.

GLE is not collecting any data beyond energy use information that helps with outage management, service improvement, rates, or troubleshooting issues. Specifically, the meters record time of use, load profile data, and power-quality information. We would never sell member information.

Yes. Meter data is encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 before transmitting. AES-256, which has a key length of 256 bits, supports the largest bit size and is practically unbreakable by brute force based on current computing power, making it the strongest encryption standard. It is the first and only publicly accessible cipher approved by the US National Security Agency for protecting top secret information.

The RF meters we selected for replacement are capable of automatic shutoff functionality that is designed to enhance the protection of your home. Advanced temperature monitoring enables the meter to disconnect power to the home whenever abnormal thresholds are observed. These features create an added layer of safety not present in our older meters.

Learn more about our meter safety features

On the contrary, data gleaned from these meters will help us to eventually provide even more opportunities for savings for our members. For instance, hourly usage data could help us to create time of use models that would eventually provide our members the flexibility to plan electrical usage during non-peak windows at a reduced rate.

Yes. Call 888-485-2537 to speak with a member service representative and ask them to assist in opting out of the meter upgrade. Members who opt-out will be charged a one-time fee of $150 and, after that, a $50 monthly fee to maintain the use of a non-communicating meter.

Without the ability to remotely obtain usage data from your meter, a tech will need to arrange a physical visit on a monthly basis to record usage rates for billing purposes.

Yes. Only members with the new RF meters will be able to take advantage of:

  • Accurate 30-day billing cycles every month (including seasonal accounts).
  • Automatic outage notification. You no longer need to let us know if the lights are out.
  • Elimination of false outage calls. No more unnecessary truck rolls.
  • Remote disconnect and reconnects.
  • Alarms for high/low voltage and other abnormalities, meaning situations are resolved faster.
  • Hourly billing data is available through your online account.
  • High-temperature warnings that can reduce the chances of meter base damage.

Easements

As a gesture of goodwill, if you complete and return the easement within 15 days of receiving it, you will receive a $25 credit on your bill.

If you do not have an account, you will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

A blanket easement is a simple way for Great Lakes Energy to gain rights to your property, for an intended purpose. You still own the property and retain the rights to use and enjoy it, subject to the easement rights. We do not intend to use your property outside of the scope of our workplan necessities.

Yes, the easement will remain on file and could be used for additional utility work.

Updating and maintaining our electrical and communication infrastructure is a critical need for Great Lakes Energy, and our co-op members. The benefits often include increased reliability in service, quicker outage response time, and planning for future infrastructure needs, including Truestream fiber internet infrastructure work.

Signing the easement in a timely manner allows us to update the utility infrastructure in your area. Whether you live at the location full time or plan to build your dream home someday, we want to provide reliable service you can count on. Reliable, updated utility infrastructure on your vacant land can increase the property value, as well.

Please fill in the date and sign your name exactly as written on the easement in the presence of a notary. We offer virtual notary services, free of charge, to assist in this process. To schedule a notary appointment with Great Lakes Energy, please call 1-888-485-2537 ext. 8930, M-F 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email [email protected].  

If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-888-485-2537 ext. 8930 M-F 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., or email [email protected].

We strive to prepare and plan the infrastructure updates to meet the needs of a majority of the Great Lakes Energy members involved in the most economical, least invasive way possible. If you would like to discuss your specific needs in regard to your property, trees, and equipment placement, please reach out by email at [email protected] or by calling 1-888-485-2537 ext. 8930 M-F 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Great Lakes Energy has many easements on file already. Your neighbor likely signed an easement for a different project, and we have that on file.

We’re happy to discuss options specific to you and your location. Please reach out by email at [email protected] or by calling 1-888-485-2537 ext. 8930 M-F 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

We offer the convenience of free virtual notary services, as well as a notary in each Great Lakes Energy office. To schedule a notary appointment with Great Lakes Energy, please call 1-888-485-2537 ext. 8930, M-F 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email at [email protected].

Items you may see on the workplan map for your area include:

Grant Application

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