Michigan pizzeria may be forced to close after receiving $20K electric bill

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

A notice appeared Monday, Sept. 30 on the Facebook page for Mitten Pizza, located on M-179, explaining their unfortunate situation. The post said 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 said 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 said it's not his goal to shut down the business, but said if they cannot negotiate the bill down to a lower amount, that may be inevitable.

In the Monday morning post, Zichterman said, "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.

WXMI 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."

WXMI shared the statement with Zichterman, who said he had been in contact with Great Lakes Energy. The utility company did not immediately respond to questions about meter errors that could lead to such a situation.