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frequently asked questions

General

  • What is the MPSC

    • Through authority granted by the Legislature, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is the state government agency responsible for regulating services provided by investor-owned natural gas, electric and telephone utilities, and rural electric cooperatives in Michigan. Other important responsibilities of the MPSC include the regulation of the intrastate for-hire trucking industry and participation in state energy emergency preparedness planning. There are three MPSC Commissioners - appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for staggered, six-year terms.

    I've got a problem with my utility company. What should I do?

    • Consumers are encouraged to first contact their gas, electric, or telephone company to discuss billing or service issues. If a resolution cannot be reached, contact the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for help in dealing with utility concerns.

      The MPSC has several publications that provide useful consumer information, tips and alerts that may help customers better understand the issues relating to their concern.

      Consumer Alerts and Informational Publications

      Submit an on-line inquiry or complaint to MPSC staff by selecting the appropriate category below and completing an on-line form. Your message will be responded to as quickly as possible.

      Submit Telephone Company Complaint
      Submit Natural Gas Utility Complaint

      Submit Electric Utility Complaint

      The MPSC's Service Quality staff is available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling: 800-292-9555 (Michigan only) and 517-241-6180 (out-of-state). Because of the high volume of calls received by Service Quality staff, you may not be able to immediately speak with an information officer. At times, call volumes are quite high because Service Quality staff may be busy responding to other customers. When this happens you will be prompted to leave a message on our voice-mail system. Your message will be responded to as quickly as possible.

    Does the MPSC regulate municipal utilities?

    • The MPSC does not have authority to regulate rates or services provided by municipal (city-owned) utilities. If you have an unresolved dispute regarding municipal utility service, contact your city manager, city council representative or mayor for assistance.

    Does the MPSC regulate telemarketing sales?

    • The MPSC does not regulate telemarketing sales. Two federal government agencies provide protection from abusive and deceptive telemarketing sales practices: (1) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to protect consumers from receiving unsolicited telephone marketing calls; and (2) the Federal Trade Commission issued the Telemarketing Sales Rule to protect consumers from telephone fraud. The Michigan Department of Attorney General also investigates disputes regarding telemarketing sales. The MPSC's Telemarketing Consumer Alert provides additional information on controlling telemarketing sales in the home.

    Does the MPSC regulate cellular telephone service?

    • The MPSC does not regulate the prices of services offered by cellular telephone providers. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) handles complaints about cellular service and tries to help customers resolve billing and service disputes but does not regulate contractual arrangements between cellular providers and their customers. The Michigan Department of Attorney General also investigates disputes regarding cellular telephone service.

E-dockets

  • What is "electronic" filing?

    • Electronic filing is a method to submit and exchange data between the MPSC and its customers using Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Parties submit an electronic document via the Commission's Electronic Dockets (E-Dockets) website. No paper original or copies will be filed with the Executive Secretary. The official date of a filing will be the date the electronic submission is received by the E-Dockets website and approved. [Exception: only those participants who do not have access to the Internet, or any electronic capabilities, will file a paper original and seven copies with the Executive Secretary.] Note: the electronic copy becomes the legal copy. Electronic filing does not mean that staff or parties to the cases cannot have a paper copy of a filing. At the pre-hearing conference, staff and/or parties may request that the service of filings also be made in paper format.
    • for a list of more visit here http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/pdfs/faqs.pdf

Electric

  • Can I be compensated by the utility for experiencing an electrical power outage even if it is the result of a severe storm?

    • The MPSC has rules in effect that allow eligible customers to request a billing credit for lengthy and or frequent outages. There is a separate category for catastrophic conditions. This credit is for the interruption of service not for resultant damage. Eligible customers would request such a credit from the utility. A Consumer Tip highlighting eligibility is available. The rules allowing the credit are titled Service Quality and Reliability Standards for Electric Distribution Systems.
    • What are the rules that apply to electric restoration if a customer is shut off for non-payment?

      • After a utility has shutoff service, it shall restore service promptly upon the customer's request when the cause has been cured or credit arrangements satisfactory to the utility have been made. Except for reasons beyond its control, the utility shall restore service not later than the first working day after the customer's request. The utility may assess the customer a charge, including reasonable costs, for restoring services and relocating the customer's meter as specified in the utility's approved schedule of rates and tariffs.
    • Can the utility company estimate my bill?

      • Utility companies are allowed to estimate a bill only if an actual meter reading cannot be obtained by any reasonable method. The Michigan Public Service Commission Billing and Payment Standards can be found on the Commission's website.

        The Michigan Public Service Commission's Consumer Tip on estimated bills has additional information on estimated bills.
    • Does the MPSC regulate damages that occurred during storms and outages?

      • The MPSC does not have jurisdiction over damage claims. This problem would need to be settled between the utility company, the customer, and possibly the customer's insurance company.
    • Can a customer avoid disconnection due to a medical illness?

      • A utility can postpone the shutoff of service for 21 days at a time. The customer needs to produce a physician's certificate or notice from a public health or a social services official stating that the shutoff of service will aggravate an existing medical emergency with a permanent resident of the premises. This temporary hold will not exceed 63 continuous days in any 12-month period per household member or 126 days per household. Contact your utility company for details.
    • Am I required to give my social security number when applying for new service?

      • A utility shall not require a customer or applicant to provide the utility with his or her social security number as a condition of obtaining or continuing a utility service. However, a utility may ask for positive identification which may include a picture identification, a driver's license, an ID card issued by the state, U.S. military card, military dependent's ID card, Native American tribal document of passport.
    • What can I do if the company will not make payment arrangements?

      • Utility companies are not obligated to make payment arrangements (for example, if the customer has defaulted on a previous payment arrangement). However, utility companies rarely deny a payment arrangement. If you are denied a payment arrangement, you always have the option of locating agencies (for example, the Department of Human Services, Salvation Army, etc.) for assistance. You may also request the utility to provide a settlement agreement on the bill.
    • If I can't pay the total bill can I make a partial payment to prevent my utility service from being shut off?

      • Low income customers of a combination utility are permitted to designate how partial payments shall be applied to their account. If you receive a shutoff notice you have the following options:

        An extended payment plan for both gas and electric service and
        An extended payment plan to retain either your gas or electric service.

Motor Carrier

    WHAT IS MPSC AUTHORITY?

    • It is authorization to transport product that you do NOT own or manufacture from point to point within the State of Michigan for compensation.
    • There may be possible exemptions for vehicles exclusively hauling selected farm products, perishable commodities, U.S. Mail, recyclable materials, etc. Please call our office at 517-241-6030 for a more detailed explanation.

    WHAT IS AN MPSC NUMBER AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

    • The MPSC number is assigned to a motor carrier who has received MPSC authority to haul for hire within the State of Michigan. You need an MPSC number if you haul products you do not own or manufacture. Decals will be issued to each power unit in your fleet of vehicles.

    I HAVE A USDOT NUMBER. IS IS THAT ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO OPERATE POINT TO POINT IN MICHIGAN?

    • No, the USDOT number is a census number used to track motor carrier information. It does not give any authority to haul for hire.

    WHAT IS AN MC NUMBER?

    • . A Motor Carrier (MC) number is a Federal government number assigned to give authority to a motor carrier hauling for hire across State lines.

    HOW DO I APPLY FOR MPSC AUTHORITY?

    • The application process involves completing an application form. It is available on the MPSC website at www.michigan.gov/mpsc . Select the Motor Carrier tab.

    ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MPSC AUTHORITY?

    • Yes. MPSC authority is granted for general commodities or household goods. Motor carriers applying for household goods authority will also be granted authority for general commodities.

    ONCE I APPLY, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AUTHORITY AND DECALS?

    • Depending on how complete the initial application is and how quickly the applicant responds to requests for additional information, the entire process can take 45 to 90 days.

    CAN I OPERATE BEFORE MPSC AUTHORITY IS GRANTED?

    • No. A temporary authority may be granted with the receipt by the MPSC of a completed application form, safety policy, driver qualification documents and insurance filings.

    ONCE I AM APPROVED FOR MPSC AUTHORITY, DO I HAVE IT FOREVER?

    • No. It must be renewed before December 31st each year. Failure to do so will result in revocation of authority. You must notify the MPSC if you have a change in name or business structure of the company. This may require new forms and a new MPSC number.

    WHAT IS AN INSURANCE FORM E?

    • A commercial Auto Liability Certificate. It is a standard insurance industry form issued from the insurance company's underwriting department. Your local agent does not have these forms and may not know about them. Tell them to call the underwriting department.

    WHAT IS AN INSURANCE FORM H?

    • A commercial Cargo Liability Certificate.

    WHAT IS AN INSURANCE FORM K?

    • A commercial Cancellation Certificate for the Forms E and H.

    WHAT IS A TARIFF?

    • A tariff is a publication containing one or more rates, charges, classification rating, rules, regulations, or other provisions, or any combination thereof, of one or more carriers.

    WHY DO I NEED A TARIFF?

    • Any carrier of household goods over 40 miles intrastate in the state of Michigan must have a tariff filed and approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

    HOW DO I GET A TARIFF?

    • There are several ways to get a tariff to submit to the MPSC. (a.) A mover may write a tariff and submit it directly to the MPSC, although writing a tariff can be a complicated process. (b.) A mover may work with an agent or attorney to write and submit a tariff. (c.) A mover may join the Michigan Movers Association. Along with membership a mover will be placed under the MMA tariff. MMA also files any updates and applies for any increases on your behalf. Information on membership in MMA is available at www.mimover.org or by calling 517-327-9207.

    DO I ALWAYS NEED TO CHARGE CUSTOMERS ACCORDING TO THE TARIFF RATES?

    • Yes, for any and all moves over 40 miles within the state of Michigan (intrastate moves).

    CAN I GIVE ANY TYPE OF DISCOUNTS?

    • Any discounts musts be preapproved by the MPSC and must be applied to every move. Discounts must be non-discriminating.

Natural Gas

  • What costs make up my natural gas bill?

    • Gas Commodity Charge:
      The cost of the natural gas that flows through your meter ? shown on your bill in measurements of 1000 cubic feet (Mcf). The rate is either regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), or set by an Alternative Gas Supplier (AGS) if you choose to participate in a Gas Customer Choice Program.

    • Delivery Charge:
      This is the cost of delivering the gas from a central pipeline to your home or business. This charge includes construction and maintenance costs, depreciation costs, operating expenses, taxes, and the company's return on invested capital. This charge is based on the amount of gas used (Ccf) and is regulated by the MPSC.

    • Customer Charge:
      A fixed monthly charge that covers the cost of connecting you to the utility's system. This includes the cost of your service line and meter and expenses associated with meter reading, billing, administrative costs, and service line maintenance. This fixed monthly charge is the same no matter how much natural gas you use. This charge is regulated by the MPSC.

    • Other Line Items

    • Sales Tax:
      The Michigan Department of Treasury requires the utility company to collect 4% sales tax from residential customers and 6% from business customers. Larger cities assess and collect a Utility Users Tax through the energy bills. The utility company collects the taxes from the customers and remits the amounts to the taxing authority.

    Does the natural gas company profit from natural gas price increases?

    • Increased natural gas prices do not result in any additional profit for regulated natural gas companies. Under Michigan law, the regulated utility sells its natural gas to consumers at the same price that it pays for the gas with no mark-up.

    Can the utility company estimate my bill?

    What programs are available if I'm experiencing difficulty paying my bills? Winter Protection Plan

    • The Winter Protection Plan protects senior and low-income customers of Commission-regulated natural gas and electric companies, rural electric cooperatives and alternative electric suppliers from electric or natural gas service shut-off and high utility payments between November 1 and March 31. Persons qualify for the plan if they meet any of the following criteria:

      ? age 65 or older
      ? receive Michigan Department of Human Services cash assistance
      ? receive Food Stamps or Medicaid or
      ? have a household income at or below 150% of federal poverty level.

      Winter Protection allows eligible low income customers to make monthly payments of at least 7% of their estimated annual bill, along with a portion of any past-due amount, November through March, and avoid shut-off during that time even if their bills are higher. Eligible senior citizens participating in Winter Protection are not required to make specific monthly payments between November 1 and March 31, but are encouraged to do so to avoid higher bills when the protection period ends. At the end of the protection period, both low-income and senior citizens taking part in the plan must pay off any money owed in installments between April and November in addition to the current bill.

      The procedures for Winter Protection Plan shutoff can be found in the Michigan Public Service Commission's Consumer Standards and Billing Practices for Electric and Gas Residential Service, Part 9, Rules 48 and 49.

    • To apply for the Winter Protection Program, contact your natural gas or electric utility company.

    • Earned Income Credit
      The Earned Income Credit (EIC) is a special tax benefit for people who work full- or part-time. Those who qualify will owe less in taxes and may get a refund. Even a person who does not generally owe income tax may get a credit, but must file a tax return to do so. Apply for an Earned Income Credit with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by filling out Form 1040 or 1040A and attach the EIC when completing Federal Income tax returns. For details, check IRS tax forms for the Earned Income Credit.

      Application forms can be requested from the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or through its website at www.irs.gov.

      Home Heating Credit
      Qualified persons may receive a credit to help pay winter heating bills. Apply for a Home Heating Credit if you have a low-income, are receiving public assistance, or are receiving unemployment compensation. Eligible customers must meet guidelines based on household income, exemptions, and heating costs.

    • The application form (MI-1040CR-7) can be requested from the Michigan Department of Treasury at 1.800.827.4000, or through its website at www.michigan.gov/treasury.

    • State Emergency Relief Program
      This program may help low-income households pay part of their heating or electric bills and may help keep their utilities in service or have service restored. Anyone can apply for help. The program is available year-round.

      Call your local Department of Human Services office for information.

    • Protection for Customers on Active Duty
      Utility customers or their spouses called to full-time active duty by the President or the Governor during a time of declared national or state emergency or war may apply for shut-off protection for electric or natural gas service for up to 90 days. These customers may reapply for extensions. The utility company may request verification of active duty status. Customers will still be responsible to pay for all services used during the time of protection.

      See the Michigan Public Service Commission's Consumer Standards and Billing Practices for Electric and Gas Residential Service, Rule 50, or contact your utility company for details.

    • Other Assistance Options
      There are other organizations that can, at times, provide emergency energy bill payment assistance. The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) provides bill payment assistance to low-income residents in 65 Michigan counties ? including the Upper Peninsula. THAW's toll-free referral number is 1-800-866-THAW (8429). The Salvation Army may also be able to provide emergency assistance. Check your telephone book for the nearest center.

    • Programs to Reduce Energy Use
      Using less energy in the home will lower utility bills. Local Michigan Community Action Agencies may help with caulking and insulation, if specific low-income guidelines are met. Check your telephone book or the MCAAA directory at http://www.mcaaa.org/community-action-programs to locate the Community Action Agency in your area.

    Can a customer avoid disconnection due to a medical illness?

    • A utility can postpone the shutoff of service for 21 days at a time. The customer needs to produce a physician's certificate or notice from a public health or a social services official stating that the shutoff of service will aggravate an existing medical emergency with a permanent resident of the premises. This temporary hold will not exceed 63 continuous days in any 12-month period per household member or 126 days per household. Contact your utility company for details.

      The rules on Medical Emergency shut off can be found in the Michigan Public Service Commission's Consumer Standards and Billing Practices for Electric and Gas Residential Service, Part 9, Rule 47.

    Am I required to give my social security number when applying for new service?

    • A utility shall not require a customer or applicant to provide the utility with his or her social security number as a condition of obtaining or continuing a utility service. However, a utility may ask for positive identification such as a picture identification, driver's license or ID card issued by the state, U.S. military card or military dependent's ID card, Native American tribal document, or passport.

    My natural gas service was switched to another company without my authorization, what should I do?

    • It is a violation of Michigan law for a natural gas company to switch your service without your authorization, otherwise known as "slamming". If your natural gas service is slammed, file an informal complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission. If the investigation shows that you were not switched due to a clerical error, you can file a formal complaint with the Commission (i.e., request a hearing).

Smart Grid

  • Will I get a smart meter?

    • Michigan's utilities are at different stages of providing smart meters to customers. Some utilities are conducting pilot programs - testing the smart meters in specific areas, while some are exploring the different technologies to determine which one will provide added value in their service territory. Contact your utility provider regarding their plans for installing smart meters. Contact your utility.

    • Information on Detroit Edison's and Consumers Energy's smart grid programs is available on their websites.

    Are smart meters accurate?

    • Yes. To date there have been several studies performed establishing that smart meters are accurate. Utilities also conduct pilot programs in their local service areas to ensure that the meters are accurate prior to full deployment.

      These studies were performed by independent parties at the request of the Texas and / or California Public Utility Commission.
      Evaluation of Advanced Metering System (AMS) Deployed in Texas

    How does a smart meter differ from my existing meter?

    • Specific benefits will be determined by what technology your utility is deploying. Generally, smart meters will provide initial benefits that include:

      1. Remote meter reading, which eliminates the need for someone to go on to your property to read your meter and eliminates estimated bills
      2. Outage notification, which automatically notifies the utility of an outage, helping to pinpoint exactly where the problem is and making it possible to restore electricity more quickly.

      Smart meters will also help your utility run more efficiently by providing them with a more accurate picture of energy usage, which they can use to help them anticipate consumers' electricity needs throughout the day.  Just as the change from analog to digital TV signals in 2009 set the stage for technological improvements, the change from traditional (analog) meters to digital smart meters will allow utilities to increase reliability and service quality to their customers.

    Will a smart meter cost me more?

    • Consumer utility rates may increase initially, but over the long run smart grid improvements may prove to keep the cost of electricity down.

    Will my utility control my electricity usage?

    • No, receiving a smart meter does not mean that your utility will control your electricity use. Smart meters do improve your utility's ability to offer voluntary programs that lower a customer's electricity use during times when overall demand for electricity is the highest. However, customers choose whether or not they wish to enroll in these programs.

    Are the radio frequency (RF) communications used by the smart meters safe?

    Will my energy use information be secure and will it remain confidential?

    • Customer energy usage information confidentiality and security is, and has been, a priority for customers, utility companies, and the Public Service Commission long before the introduction of smart grid technology. This priority will continue with the introduction of smart grid technologies. As utilities move forward with smart grid technologies such as smart metering, safeguards and countermeasures (controls) are carefully designed into systems and processes to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. Industry standards and guidelines such as those recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology are routinely used during technology deployments. Internal utility policies based on recognized industry standards ensure that customer energy use information remains secure and confidential.

Telecommunications

  • Why is my local company allowed to put charges from other companies on my local telephone bill?

    • A federal law?the 1996 Telecommunications Act?allows the landline companies, like AT&T and Verizon, to bill for other telephone service providers. The MPSC is not allowed to block these competitors, but it can take complaints against them. Also, you can ask that provider's billing agent to remove disputed charges. If the billing agent refuses to do so, ask your local phone company to reverse those charges and block your account for future, unwanted 3rd party calls and billings.

    • For more information, go to: (Know Your Telephone Services And Costs!) http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mpsc/mpscca_ telephonecosts_211849_7.pdf

    I've got charges on my bill that I never authorized. How can I get these charges off of my bill and get these companies to stop doing this to people?

    • When a company puts unauthorized charges on your telephone bill, it is called "cramming". Cramming is a violation of the Michigan Telecommunications Act.

    • If the unauthorized charges were for services from your local telephone company, call your local telephone company, advise them that the charges were not authorized, and request that they cancel the service and credit your bill. If you wish to pursue the matter, you have the option to file an informal or formal (request a hearing) cramming complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission.

    • What if those unauthorized charges were billed by your local phone company for another company? Call the company that placed those charges on your bill, advise them that the charges were not authorized, and request that they cancel and credit the service. Call your local phone company, advise them that the charges were unauthorized and ask them to reverse the charges to the unauthorized company. If you wish to pursue the matter, you have the option to file a cramming complaint with the MPSC or:

    • The Office of the Michigan Attorney General at 1-877-765-8388
      The Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html.
    • Ask your local company for a third party billing block to stop future crammings.

    I have called my local telephone about my repair problems and they have done nothing. What should I do?

    • Make sure you have contacted the company. It helps to document your contacts with the company.

      Contact the MPSC's Service Quality Division at 1-800-292-9555 for assistance.

    My phone does not work but the company says it is working at the NID (network interface device). What should I do?

    • If there is no dial tone in your home, plug your phone into the NID (a plastic box, covered with the company's logo, found on the side of your house where the outside phone line enters the house).
    • Are you getting dial tone now?
    • If YES, the problem is with defective inside wiring and/or phone jacks.
    • ? Either you or your landlord (depending on your lease agreement) would be responsible for the necessary repairs.
      ? If you have a maintenance plan for inside wiring and phone jacks, then the telephone company should do the repairs at no charge.
      ? Otherwise, contact either your local telephone company or an electrical contractor to make the necessary repairs. You would be charged for the repairs.

      If NO, there is a problem with the telephone network.

      ? Report this outage to your local telephone company.

      Once the telephone network is fixed, you should get dial tone in your home. If you still don't have dial tone in your home, recheck for dial tone at the NID.

    Who is responsible for the inside wiring and phone jacks?

    • The telephone customer is responsible for inside wiring and phone jacks, unless you have an inside wire maintenance plan with your local telephone company. Anything from the NID (Network Interface Device) back to the CO (Central Office) is the responsibility of the company. If you are a renter, check your rental agreement to see who is responsible for details concerning inside utility wiring.

    Do I have to have a long distance telephone company?

    • No. You can ask your local phone company to change your choice of long distance phone service to NONE. However, the FCC has allowed local phone companies to charge separate $5.00 fees for changing your local long distance and long distance choices.

      However, your local carrier can still bill you for the Federal interstate or line access charge. You are being charged for the potential ability to place long distance phone calls.

    My son or daughter is in a Michigan correctional facility and I am not able to receive calls from him/her. What can I do?

    • Consistent with responsibilities to preserve the security and orderly management of correctional facilities, prevent the interdiction of drugs and other contraband, and protect the public, a telephone monitoring system was sought and implemented in 1991. Prisoner participation in fraudulent and illegal activities prompted the Legislature to enact MCL 91.270, putting in place the authority for the telephone monitoring system.

    • The goal of the inmate telephone contract is to provide a system that ensures protection of the public while, at the same time, it facilitates communications between inmates and their loved ones. The contracted telephone company provides all telephone equipment hardware, call monitoring, and software for the prisoner telephone system at no cost to the State of Michigan or the taxpayers.

    • The Department of Management and Budget (DMB), Acquisition Services, negotiated the prisoner telephone contracts based on the needs and expectations set out by the Department of Corrections. All rates, surcharges, premise fees, terms and conditions are governed by these contracts. The current inmate telephone contract issued by DMB for the Department of Corrections (517-335-1426) is with Sprint.

      Sprint may block collect calls to a customer who has unpaid telephone bills. The company will make an effort to contact the customer and attempt to work out other solutions, such as a pre-paid billing plan or second party billing arrangement. If the customer has chosen a local service provider that does not have a billing agreement with Sprint or a third party billing entity, the call will be "unbillable" and the customer will have to set up special billing arrangements. The direct billing option is a third party billing provided by Sprint for inmate calls, which will appear as a separate detail listing on the person's bill. This option will prevent the calls from being blocked for not having a billing arrangement with Sprint. The larger companies (such as AT&T and Verizon) have already signed these agreements with Sprint or third party billing agents.

    • Customers using these providers will find a separate listing for inmate collect calls from Sprint when they receive their monthly bill. Sprint uses Correctional Billing Service to handle the day-to-day functions of inmate calls. Correctional Billing Service may be reached at (800) 844-6500. At this time, Correctional Billing Service is the company that has to make the necessary arrangements for those outside to receive calls from inmates.

    Why isn't there more local telephone competition?

    • State law does not give the MPSC the authority to force a company to provide service to any particular areas or customers. Local companies would have to determine whether it is worth their time and resources to provide local phone service in your community.

    • There may be many ways to encourage companies to serve an area. One way is to demonstrate there are enough customers (local businesses, residential consumers, local governmental groups, etc.) to make it a worthwhile business venture. Contact your local government and/or elected officials to see if they can encourage local competition.

    • For information on local phone service providers in your county, go to both of these links.
    • The first link is a list of competing local phone service providers. The second link lists these providers, by the counties they service.
    • ? http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/mpsc/comm/clec/newlocal.pdf
      ? http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/mpsc/comm/clec/providerbycounty.pdf

    I am on the Do Not Call List and I am still getting calls from telemarketers. What can I do about this?

    • Confirm that your number is on the Federal Do Not Call List by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/Conf.aspx.
    • Go to the Michigan Do Not Call website at http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/0,4639,7-159-16372_48208---,00.html to make sure the companies that are calling you are not exempt from the Do Not Call List laws.
    • File complaints with the Michigan Attorney General at 1-877-765- 8388 or at http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164-17331-74753--,00.html and the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or at https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx whenever you have the phone number or name of a company that calls your home.
    • If the company is calling continuously (every day, several times per day), ask your local company if they will assist you in identifying the phone number of the caller that is harassing you. (Michigan Compiled Law 484.125). Some telephone companies have an Annoyance Call Bureau to help customers in these situations.
    • Unfortunately, sometimes it is not possible to identify the telephone number, and thus, the company that is calling you.

    I am a business owner who lost potential customers and/or business, due to very poor telephone service or no service at all. Can I be compensated and how?

    • You can seek damages or compensation by filing a small claim suit, a civil suit and/or, in certain circumstances, a formal complaint with the MPSC.

    • If you file a formal complaint with the MPSC, you may ask the Commission to file the company be fined and request compensation for your time involved. For more information on the formal hearing process, go to: http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/0,1607,7-159-16372-42859--,00.html.

    How can I stop telemarketing calls?

    • Put your name on the Federal Do Not Call List. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you want to put on the registry. When you sign up with the Federal Do Not Call List, you are automatically placed on Michigan's Do Not Call list. You can file a complaint regarding a telemarketer with the Michigan Attorney General at 1-877-765-8388 and the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or at https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx.

    • You can confirm that your number is on the Federal Do Not Call List by going to https://www.donotcall.gov/confirm/Conf.aspx.

    • Some companies are allowed to call customers, even if they have registered on the Do Not Call List. Go to the Michigan Do Not Call website at http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/0,4639,7-159-16372_48208---,00.html to make sure that the 27 companies that are calling you are not exempt from the Do Not Call List laws.

    • When a telemarketer calls, request that the caller put your name on their Do Not Call List. Ask the telemarketer to send you a letter of verification that this has been done.

    • If you do not have caller id, you can use *69 to try to get the phone number of the caller. If you can identify the telephone number, and your name is on the Do Not Call List, you can file a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General at 1-877-765-8388 and the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or at https://www.donotcall.gov/Complain/ComplainCheck.aspx.

    • Many numbers may not be available through *69 and caller ID. Please note that there is usually a charge to dial *69 and you are charged even if a telephone number is not available. (Unfortunately, sometimes it is not possible to identify the telephone number, and thus, the company that is calling you).

Video Franchising

  • Are you having a problem with your video/cable television provider?

    • If you are experiencing problems with your provider, you should first contact your provider and attempt to resolve the dispute with them. If you are dissatisfied with the provider's response, or the dispute is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may file an informal complaint with the MPSC.

    Do you have a satellite television complaint?

    • If you are experiencing a problem with your satellite television, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): (877) 382-4357 or www.ftc.gov. The MPSC does not have authority over satellite complaints or inquiries.

    I returned equipment and boxes to my cable company and now I have a collection notice for unreturned equipment. What can I do?

    • First, immediately contact your provider. Explain to the provider that you have returned the equipment, and provide them with copies of your return receipts. If you are not able to resolve your complaint, you may submit a complaint to the MPSC for assistance. It is helpful if you know the date and location of where you returned the equipment, and if you still have your receipt that you received when you returned the equipment.

    My cable company damaged my property. What can I do?

    • As quickly as possible, you should first contact your cable provider and inform the company of the damage and attempt to resolve the issue with them. If you are not able to obtain a resolution, you may submit a complaint to the MPSC. However, Staff will only be able to assist you with your complaint. The MPSC does not make awards for damage claims. You may also consider filing suit in small claims court or filing a claim with your homeowners insurance.

    I have a cable line that is either on the ground or hanging very low, causing a public hazard. How do I have the cable line either hung properly or buried?

    • You should contact your provider and make them aware of the situation. If the problem is not quickly resolved, you may contact the MPSC and Staff will assist you with your complaint. We consider public hazards serious issues and will expedite the issue as quickly as possible.
The answers provided are not meant to be a substitute for legal advice.
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