Welcome to Great Lakes Energy’s FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page.
Have questions for us not listed here? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-GTLAKES (888-485-2537).
My bill has a new SURCHARGE labeled, “MI LOW INCOME ENERGY FUND”. What is that?
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.
Is Great Lakes Energy required by law to collect this surcharge?
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:
- Their ability to implement normal collection procedures to handle delinquent accounts during the 2017-18 heating season would be limited.
- 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.
How much is this surcharge?
The surcharge amount cannot exceed $1 per month and is 93 cents per month per meter effective Sept. 2017-Aug. 2018. The surcharge is adjusted each September by the State of Michigan.
I have more than one meter. Do I pay the surcharge for each meter?
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.
Is my money going to help someone in my community?
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.
How will your decision to participate in the surcharge program affect members whose accounts become delinquent in the upcoming heating season?
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.
Who should I contact for MORE INFORMATION ON THIS SURCHARGE?
Please contact your local state representative or senator. Visit Michigan.gov for more information.
I think I was targeted by a SCAM. What do I do?
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.
Read more information from the Michigan Attorney General’s office on a common payment scam.
What are the board of director DISTRICTS? How do I know which district I’m in?
Visit gtlakes.com/board-of-directors/ for more information.
How do I run for the BOARD OF DIRECTORS?
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.
What are CAPITAL CREDITS and how do they work?
Visit gtlakes.com/capital-credit-refunds/ for more information.
How do I REPORT AN OUTAGE outside of GLE’s regular hours?
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.
Why do I have to call and report my outage if GLE uses AUTOMATED METERS?
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.
How do GLE’s automated meters transmit readings? Are they “SMART METERS“?
Please visit gtlakes.com/automated-meters/ for more information.
What should I do if a BROWNOUT occurs?
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.
What causes BLINKS?
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.
What is the $32.21 MONTHLY CHARGE and what does it cover?
Visit gtlakes.com/monthlycharge/ for more information.
Where can I get HELP WITH PAYING my bill?
Find information at gtlakes.com/payment-assistance/.
What are the WAYS I CAN PAY MY BILL?
Great Lakes Energy offers several convenient Pay Your Way options for paying your electric bill.
Does GLE offers seniors a SPECIAL RATE?
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.
How long do you hold my DEPOSIT and how do I get it back?
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.
Can I have my METER TEMPORARILY DISCONNECTED while I am on vacation or gone for a period of time?
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 gtlakes.com/monthlycharge.) 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.
How does GLE notify members of HERBICIDE APPLICATION being planned?
The herbicide contractor directly notifies each property owner before any work commences to obtain the owner’s permission to apply herbicide. Visit gtlakes.com/herbicide-practices/ for more information.
Why does GLE need to remove vegetation within its RIGHT-OF-WAY (ROW)?
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.
Why can’t I attach things to ELECTRICAL POLES?
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!
Why doesn’t GLE install more UNDERGROUND LINES?
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.
What is GLE’s SOURCE OF POWER?
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.
How is GLE involved with RENEWABLE ENERGY?
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.
How can charitable and community organizations apply for PEOPLE FUND GRANTS?
Visit gtlakes.com/grant-application-request/ for information.