UPDATE - How Consumers Energy tests its upgraded meters

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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - On Monday, News 10 reported customers are complaining their bills went up after having new upgraded meters installed.

Consumers Energy says it's 100% confident in the accuracy of the meters. The utility cited this year’s winter was much colder than last year, leading to customers seeing higher bills.

News 10 was allowed inside the Metering Technology Center at Consumers Energy in Jackson, a facility which serves almost like the heartbeat for the upgraded meter program.

“We started in the western part of the state around Muskegon and we've been working our way eastward and to the north since then,” said Dennis Mckee, spokesman for Consumers Energy.

It's inside the building where meters of all sorts are tested for accuracy.

“Consumers Energy uses Itron meters that have been certified by the American National Standards Institute,” said McKee. “We also test them and Itron tests them so by the time a meter gets to a home it’s been tested multiple times for accuracy.”

The whole process begins at a workstation where technicians will take meters of all kinds and clip it into place on the machine.

The process can take as little as five minutes for a residential meter, or longer for commercial and industrial meters.

A computer runs several tests, one at 30 amps and another at three amps.

If the test is passed, the computer will provide a number with green behind it. If it failed, red will appear behind the number.

The machines are calibrated every month, along with additional testing.

“The meters are tested here rigorously using electronic equipment that tests them at various ranges to make sure that they record the flow of electricity into them and out of them accurately,” said McKee.

Consumers Energy says they've sped up the upgrades due to popularity. Upgrades they say will help the company help its customer.

“No matter what their circumstances are, we know have the tools in place to help our customers more individually address their energy issues,” said McKee.

Consumers Energy says it has installed more than one-million smart meters.

Customers can opt out of getting one... But there is a one-time fee to keep an analog meter and a monthly fee to have a meter reader come out.