Hike rates

Consumers Energy agreed to hike rates, but at a fraction of what it was looking for

State officials approved an increase in electricity tariffs for Consumers Energy to a fraction of the amount originally requested by the company.

The Michigan Public Service Commission this month approved a $ 27.1 million tariff increase for the company’s electricity customers, just 12 percent of the $ 225 million increase. dollars requested by Consumers Energy. More than 20 agencies intervened in the requested rate hike, including state attorney general Dana Nessel, who argued the company had sufficient revenue without any further rate hikes.

An average residential consumer of Consumers Energy who uses 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity monthly can expect their bill to increase by 59 cents starting in January 2022.

The company stated in its deposit with the MPSC, the requested tariff increase was intended to offset the decline in sales revenues and to continue the 300 megawatt solar power generation projects. The rate hike will fund capital investments to improve reliability, state officials said.

The attorney general argued that the company’s projections and expenses included in its rate increase request were unreasonable and excessive and would not provide comparable benefits to customers. She went so far as to say that Consumers Energy should even reimburse its customers.

Other entities that have fought to minimize the company’s rate hike include the Michigan Environmental Council, Sierra Club, and Michigan’s Citizens Utility Board, among others.

Amy Bandyk, executive director of Michigan’s Citizen Utility Board, said it was a good sign that the MPSC had considered Consumers Energy’s rate increase request and significantly reduced it. However, she argued that the company’s customers will always pay more for an electricity distribution service that is “inferior in quality and unreliable in all respects”.

Michigan’s power grid was assessed among the worst in the nation. A series of powerful thunderstorms that swept across the landscape every few days over the past summer demonstrated just how vulnerable the grid is to inclement weather; 2.4 million customers have been without power this summer, some for a week or more.

A spokesperson for Consumers Energy said the company is committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy to power Michigan homes and businesses.

“From pruning more trees to using the latest smart technology, we are committed to reducing and reducing power outages for our customers while preparing our system to support EVs and challenges. of the 21st century, ”said Katie Carey, External Company Manager. relationship manager.

“We are currently reviewing this order and its implications for our future investments in Michigan.”

This is the second increase in electricity rates for Consumers Energy customers in as many years. Customers started paying a higher rate in January this year due to a surge of more than $ 90 million that the MPSC approved last year.

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