22 answers

Consumers Energy Help

Does anyone know if Consumers Energy can legally put an unpaid account balance from a closed account opened in one name onto an active open account under a different name and both accounts are for the same house location? Here's the story, my ex-husband and I lived at the same address and the divorce was finalized on 10/09/2008 with the gas and electric account opened in my ex-husband's name years ago. My ex moved out of the home on 11/30/2008 and was supposed to close the account that was in his name and pay the balance on the gas and electric bill. I then opened a gas and electric account under my name because my ex no longer lived at the home and was not responsible for the gas and electric charges effective 12/01/2008, plus I didn't want to leave the gas and electric account open in his name because he is an evil, cruel man and I was afraid he would have the gas and electric service disconnected on me and my children just to be mean. Plus, I would not be able to legally open any mail that came to the home addressed in his name only. Well, he did not close the account and did not pay the balance on the bill and Consumer's Energy stated the account that was opened in my name was a new account for my ex and billed me for his charges. I don't think this is legal but Consumer's Energy is fighting me over this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to all for the responses. I did send my issue to the State Attorney General's Office and let me tell you that got an immediate response from Consumers Energy. I also sent my issue to the Lansing State Journal and the state Public Service Commission. Consumers Energy did take the ex's charges off my bill. They did it quickly too but I did have to supply them with numerous documented proof that those charges belonged to the ex and were not mine. It is amazing how cooperative Consumers Energy is when the Attorney General's office gets involved.
I'm still battling with the ex over his non-compliance with the divorce decree and will probably do so for a long time. I thought I was rid of him when the divorce was final but sadly, I was mistaken. But, each day is a different day and hopefully a better day.

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Something similar happened to my son. He and girlfriend broke up, electricity acct was in her name. He told her to terminate the acct, she didn't. I can't remember if he got stuck with it or managed to convince her to pay it and cancel it. The one who's name it's in is responsible. But whoever is left behind living where the electricity is running is the one who gets shafted.

Did you call Consumer's Energy? I'd also ask the attorney who represented you.

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Unfortunatly they can do that....you were legally married and both living in the house prior to getting a divorce. They look at it as a form of fraud and there are people out there who do it all the time, especially with their cable bills. The only thing that may save you is IF you had it listed in court papers that was his debt and you were not responsible for it.

Good luck, I know it's a pain. I chaulked up the $20K my ex ran up to as the cost of getting rid of him and gues what...he new wife has the headaches now!

I'm thinking all they did was transfer the old account from your ex's name into your name instead of closing the old account and starting a new one.

I would go down to the Consumers Building with your divorce papers in hand and show them that you are not responsible for the bills after that date.

Hi V. - did the divorce paper work indicate that HE would be responsible for these bills - done by a lawyer?? if so, then you should not have to pay this - all you should have to do is produce a copy of the paper work showing the responsibility. If the legal paper work doesn't say anything about this - then you may have to pay it - or pay half of it and insist that they bill him for the rest. it can surely be a sticky deal and I totally know where you are coming from. I am so sorry! things will get better!! I hope you get some good advice, maybe from a lawyer mommie!!

Hopefully you have it all in writing in your divorce papers. Take them a copy.


This happened to me also, and yes they can do it. They even turned by gas off twice in the winter because I couldn't catch up. Ours wasn't even the same address.


The account in your husband's name had his social security number on the account. Since you have a separate social security account number I would think that would be "your out".

Consumers needs to go after your husband. I wouldn't let this go. Also, if you want to take it a step further, contact one of the local news stations, specifically their troubel shooter report and let them know what is going on. I have had great success with these people. Consumers wouldn't want any bad publicity.

Good luck!

Hi V.,

Sorry to say, but yes they can. Same last name, same address, they can put the bills together. If you were married at the time of his account balance you are responsable for the bill too, unless you have court documents that state other wise, then you would have to take them into the office and speak with a supervisor about it.


This happened to me too! Were you legally divorced when the bill was put in your name and is it in writing some where that he was to pay that bill? If either is no then you might have to pay it. You may have to chalk it up as lesson learned. Get EVERYTHING in writing even the things that seem petty. You should call your lawyer and see if there is anything that can be done. I ended up having to pay a bill from a house I never even lived in with my ex because he never paid the bill but we were still legally married and there was nothing in our agreement that stated he was to pay his own bills at the seperate residence! Good luck!

I am in a similar situation. AFTER our divorce was final, my ex had an account opened in his name and my name at his new location with his new wife. I have called Consumers Energy many times as well as faxed them my divorce decree with the date as proof and they still will not do anything! They are trying to make me pay for their usage! I stay up to date every month with my own bill but I WILL NOT pay for their bill also! I can't believe how irrational Consumers Energy is being with these situations and that they don't have a process for those of us who fall into these circumstances! If you find any good information or advice, could you please pass it on to me as well? I am beyond frustrated with this issue!

Hi, I am not sure of the legality but I am sure that Consumer's are being unreasonable. They are going after YOU instead of HIM. Is it possible to contact your divorce attorney? Or seek out a Legal Aid in your area? I've been there and I pray this will work out for you. Denise K.

Contact your lawyer. There may be something that can be done. Good luck!

I can't offer any help, but I have been in a similar situation with a former roommate. I don't know if it's legal, but they sure do do it and it sounds like often. If you have received a shut off notice and need help I would contact your local Community Action Agency.

That happened to us, except it was a friend of ours that moved in with us. When she changed her address to the same address as us, they combined the bills. Her previous bill was $850. We tried to fight it, but with no luck. Long story short, she moved out on us, and my husband and I were responsible for the bill. I think it is ridiculous. I am sorry to hear about your situation. I know this wasn't encouraging, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. Good luck to you.



About 3 years ago we had renters in a house up north and they did not pay their electric bill to Consumers Energy. When we evicted them and then closed the electric account. At that time we asked Consumers Energy who was responsible for the unpaid bill and the company said the renters were completely responsible for the debt and they would follow up with the collection from the evicted family.

Here is a link to the Michigan's Attorney General's office contact phone numbers:
The employees there may be able to answer your questions about who is legally responsible for paying the unpaid bill and if the Consumer Protection Agency can help you file a claim against the company.

Most likely the company is going after you because in the past when dealing with a similar situation the wife just paid the bill and the company was able to collect the money without a lot of effort. Is it legal? I don't know. Being married to him while the account was active may make you responsible for the bill even though your name was not on the account.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!


Per a suggestion of an employee, you need to check your papers. If your papers state that he is going to take care of the bill then you have a case, if not; see if your attorny can add it. Otherwise there is nothing you can do about it and it will be your resposibility to pay. Thing is; this is me telling you what needs to happen, they just simply told me what could happen. They are not allowed to get involved or tell you what to do in this case. Hope this helps you.

Something similar happened to my son. He and girlfriend broke up, electricity acct was in her name. He told her to terminate the acct, she didn't. I can't remember if he got stuck with it or managed to convince her to pay it and cancel it. The one who's name it's in is responsible. But whoever is left behind living where the electricity is running is the one who gets shafted.

Did you call Consumer's Energy? I'd also ask the attorney who represented you.

hey V.
i would go as high as you can they can't do that fight it don't back down it not your bill it your ex bill give them hell

I'm not sure if legally they can do this but they say they can. We had this happen and we weren't related to the people. We were living in a house with roomates that one had in their name and the bill was high. They left and took it out of their name, but when we tried to get it open in our name we got stuck with the bill. We tried to tell them what happened. But they said they get so many people that run up bills and dont pay and then to get out of it just open it in the other persons name. I think it's wrong because what if you dont even know the person that lived at the address before you like you bought a house or something and it came from the previous owners but to them they just think people are always trying to screw them over and get out of their bills.

I agree that it is not fair, but I do think it is legal. You were married and therefore sharing the usage. Try contacting one of the TV stations about resolving your problem. They are a big help. Also try your congressman. I do not know where you live but McCotter is a good resolver. Keep protesting. It does not hurt.

Does it state this in your divorce decree? If so, send Consumers a copy of your divorce decree. If not, perhaps a letter from your attorney stating the arrangement for the account would help.

I am so sorry your going though that! Yuck! I probably won't be much help as I don't know much about it, but I did have a friend who went through that with the phone company can't remember how it all worked out now (sorry) but could you contact your lawyer who handled the divorce? Maybe they would know???

Sorry if this is a repeat, I didn't have time to read the other responses, but electric, gas, sewer, and water all follow the property, not who's name is on the bill. We are renting commercial property and they wouldn't even let us turn the water on until the amount owed was paid in full. Didn't seem fair to us either, especially just starting out in a new building.
Have a great day

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