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Customer, Employee Safety Focus Of Consumers Energy’s New Meter Reading Policy

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JACKSON — To help keep meter readers safe on the job and lessen the possibility of contact with aggressive dogs, Consumers Energy has revised its policy for customers with dogs.

“We continue to see an increase in the number of dog bites to meter readers, even by dogs that have in the past exhibited no aggressive behavior.  This required a change in our policy to help protect our employees,” said Charles Montgomery, manager of customer field services.              

There are now three meter reading codes that can be added to accounts of customers with dogs. The codes have one common requirement – that all dogs – even those who have previously shown no sign of aggressive behavior – be restrained or properly contained while the Consumers Energy gas or electric meter is being read. 

Additional changes to the meter reading dog policy include:
* Customers who own dogs with no previous aggressive behavior must now restrain or contain their dog before the meter can be read.
* Accounts identified as premises with dogs known to be aggressive must have the dog restrained or the meter will not be read.  This includes walking or driving routes. Meter readers on walking routes will attempt to contact these customers prior to entering the premise to make sure dogs are restrained. For driving routes the meter reader will honk the horn and not exit the vehicle until verification is made that the dog is secure. In either situation if contact with the customer cannot be made, the meter will not be read. 
* Customers with dogs that have exhibited aggressive behavior and who have bitten or otherwise injured an employee will only have their meter read with a police escort.

“The bottom line is that even the most friendly, easy-going dog can become aggressive when a stranger enters its domain,” Montgomery said. “This policy is designed to help reduce the amount of painful injuries suffered by our meter readers. Our employees make a promise to their families to return home safely every day and this new policy helps strengthen that commitment to safety,” he said.  

Customers have the option of reading their own meter and sharing the information with Consumers Energy. To obtain a meter reading schedule for your home, go to www.consumersenergy.com. Once there, it is easy to establish or access an eServices profile and a meter reading schedule by clicking on “My History,” then Energy Use, then on the Meter Reading Schedule tab. This information has information about meter reading scheduled visits, so homeowners can take appropriate action with their pets.  A copy of the meter reading schedule can also be obtained by calling the utility’s toll-free number at (800) 477-5050. 

Consumers Energy also advises its natural gas customers in the metro Detroit area that meter readers will continue to perform field reads for these meters. There has been some confusion because DTE Energy is in the process of replacing its electric meters with smart meter technology that does not require field meter reads. 

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information regarding Consumers Energy, go to: www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

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