FLINT, Michigan -- John Morgan was less than $300 past due on his Consumers Energy bill when the utility company shut off his electricity three days before he was discovered dead inside his pick-up truck.
But a spokeswoman for Consumers Energy said today that the company's policy provides for disconnections for past-due accounts of as little as $75.
Consumers Energy representative Debra Dodd confirmed that the electricity to Morgan's home at 730 E. Parkway Ave. on the city's north side was turned off Friday but said she cannot comment on police statements that Morgan, 86, was just $291 past due on his utility bill.
Of the shutoff notices issued today by Consumers, overdue bills average just over $400, Dodd said.
Police believe Morgan, 86, was trying to stay warm in the truck outside his home because his electricity had been shut off.
A cause of death has not yet been determined.
Consumers officials have said Morgan could have avoided a winter shutoff regardless of his debt if he had notified the company that he was a senior citizen.
When customers don't qualify for a program to keep their heat on, Consumers follows the same process it followed before turning off Morgan's electricity, Dodd said.
Seven days after bill is due, customers are sent a shut-off notice. Four days later, a second notice or phone call is issued.
Seven days after the second notice, Consumers calls the customer in an attempt to talk about payment options and programs, Dodd said.
One day later, an intent to discontinue service notice is mailed, and six days after that, a disconnect order is created.
The actual disconnection occurs from six to 30 days after the intent to disconnect notice, Dodd said.
Dodd has said Consumers representatives went to Morgan's home prior to shutting off the electricity but were unable to make contact with anybody.
[Via M Live]