To left-wing documentary-maker Michael Moore, the utility company that cut off a Hazel Park, Mich., veteran’s heat is heartless and cruel, just like Chris Kyle of “American Sniper.”
In the real world, the story is a bit more complicated. For starters, the utility, Consumers Energy, didn’t know the veteran was living in the house, according to a utility official quoted in the Detroit News. Consumers Energy didn’t know that the veteran — an elderly man named John Skelley — had health issues. Service at the home was in the name of Skelley’s roommate, who hadn’t paid his bills. The utility sent the roommate three shut-off notices. Neither Skelley nor his roommate responded, according to the utility.
Gas service was eventually shut off on Jan. 19, and Consumers reported no other contacts with anyone at the home afterward. In an official statement released this week, the company stressed there are programs designed to assist residents with their bills, particularly in emergency situations.
“But we must be notified that they need help,” the statement reads. “In this case, we unfortunately had no contact from the customer that he needed assistance or wanted to restart his payment plan, even after three proactive notices were sent to him. Information about obtaining help was also left on the door at the time service was interrupted.”
What exactly does Moore want the utility to do? Provide free heating in perpetuity to everyone who doesn’t pay his or her bills, including to those who don’t ask for help? That’s what some of Moore’s fans seem to think:
Michigan has government heating assistance programs for low-income households. In 2012, such programs helped roughly 615,000 households — nearly one-sixth of all households in Michigan. Did Skelley or his roommate apply for assistance? We don’t know.
Of course, none of this has anything to do with Chris Kyle or the movie “American Sniper” but when he sees an opportunity to bash snipers, it seems Moore just can’t help himself.