FLINT, Mich. – It was just a penny, but to Consumers Energy it was enough to cut off power in a local home. Jacqueline Williams, 41, of Flint had an electricity bill of $1,662.08 and paid all of it, except for one cent. That wasn't enough for the power company, which blacked her out for seven hours Wednesday.
The CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary told Williams the power would not be turned on until the penny was received.
"I went down there, paid my penny and got a receipt," Williams told The Flint Journal.
Shortly after, the electricity was turned back on.
"All of this for one penny," said Williams, who went to the state Department of Human Services for help in April and was told the agency would pay most of the bill.
But she was still short more than $500.
Williams, a Social Security recipient, went to the Salvation Army, where she received $430.67, and Consumers agreed to match $430.66 toward the bill.
However, she was still one cent short.
A Consumers Energy spokesman said that the utility had no choice in the matter, though he was not aware of any similar incidents where service was stopped for one cent.
"This was the first one I've heard about," said Terry DeDoes. He said the company has many programs to help people who fall behind in their utility bills.
Williams said she doesn't want to find herself in the same situation again.
"I'm praying to God I stay on top of my bills," she said.