And, as you'd expect, they blame it on colder weather.

The noise is getting louder every day - Michigan residents are seeing their energy bills spike unexpectedly. And not just a few bucks; some people are seeing their bills double and triple.

We had a representative from Consumers Energy on the phone last week, who gave us the basic lip service: colder winter, longer billing period, if you need help paying your bill, they have programs..etc.

Go figure - when politicians also started to see their bills double, they called on Consumers to testify at the Capitol in Lansing on Tuesday. And, just as they did on the phone with us, they cited colder temperatures and longer billing periods. Interestingly enough, no mention of the new smart meters.

I've got a bit of a more open-eye on the utility bill situation - I've lived in Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois and Utah before moving to Michigan. WA and UT climates don't really compare to Michigan, so I'll forgo those examples. But, when we lived in Wisconsin, our bills were never above $200 per month. We had a bigger house than we do here in Michigan, and winters were twice as brutal, temperature-wise. Whether we had the heat on full-blast or the central air, our highest bill was $200 per month.

In Michigan, we pay between $200 and $500 per month, regardless. We keep our heat at 67 during the winter, and 72 during the summer. So let me be the first to tell you that the rates in Michigan are NOT the norm.

And unfortunately, I don't think there's anything any of us can do about it.