Pizza place may shut down after almost $20K electric bill

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MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. -- A West Michigan pizza restaurant says they may soon be shutting down because of a large unexpected electric bill.

Mitten Pizza, located on M-179, posted a notice to their Facebook page Monday explaining their unfortunate situation. In it, they say that they recently received a "corrected" electric bill from their provider for $19,795.75.

According to Mitten's owner, Jamie Zichterman, the electric company had uncovered a "mistake" and was back-charging them for 12 months of service.

Because of the large bill, Zichterman says they may have to shut down their business on Nov. 1.

"We are a small owner operator pizza place, not a huge chain that has millions in accounts and lawyers paid to handle these circumstances," he said in a Facebook post.

Zichterman says it's not his goal to shut down the business but says if they cannot negotiate the bill down to a lower amount, that may be inevitable.

In the Monday morning post, Zichterman saying, "Local customers, we love you, and thank you SO much for your continued support over the past 3 years."

A friend of Zichterman launched a GoFundMe campaign Monday afternoon to try and help him pay off the bill.

FOX 17 reached out to Mitten's provider, Great Lakes Energy, for comment about the situation, who sent the following statement:

"To protect our members’ privacy and account information, we are unable to share account details with anyone other than the account holder. We are happy to work with our members for payment arrangements when they are unable to pay a high bill. We have reached out to Mitten Pizza and are currently waiting to hear back from them regarding this manner."

FOX 17 shared the statement with Zichterman, who said he has been in contact with Great Lakes Energy. We followed up with the energy provider to ask what sorts of meter errors could lead to such a situation, they have yet to respond.


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  • steve

    I’d be telling Great Lakes Energy to go to hell via a letter from my attorney. The mistake was the responsibility of the utility and its employee, not the shop owner. Great Lakes Energy can absorb the ‘loss’. The pizza shop owner probably can’t and shouldn’t have to.

    • Jman

      Why is the bill $1650 per month? Plus they were paying an electric bill as well?
      This doesn’t seem to add up – I wouldn’t give them go fund me money until you know more of the story

    • Jman

      Why is the bill almost $1700 per month? Plus they were paying an electric bill as well?
      This doesn’t seem to add up – I wouldn’t give them go fund me money until you know more of the story

  • Ham bone

    Ummmm gofundme what a joke if you are not getting an electric bill for a year and do not say anything about it trying to get one over on the electric company you get what you deserve. I highly doubt this was an unexpected bill.

  • Larry

    What were the annual or monthly costs last year? Commercial utility costs are high, but if it averages out to be close to the same, then the money went somewhere else. Who was paying the bills? Was the ‘catch-up’ just for 2019, of years in the past too? Meter tested thoroughly? 🤔

    • Larry

      We’d need to know more, their energy bills could have been $1200/mo to begin with. (heat, air, refrigeration, indoor & outdoor lighting…)

  • John George (@Libertarian999)

    I’d be surprised if this “mistake” wasn’t a result of a “smart” meter. A dumb old analog meter just sits there silently and accurately doing its job, with the added benefit of not putting “dirt” into the electricity. An analog meter can be read and logical comparisons made from month to month. The “smart’ meter? Bunch of computer numbers, who knows how they were generated. Sorry for your loss, sorry our Public Service Commission ever approved “smart” meters in the first place. As with most government agencies, the PSC most assuredly serviced us. Next PSC servicing: 5G.

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