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Consumers Energy customers could see change in electricity bills as summer peak pricing begins

Thermostat set to 63 degrees
Consumers Energy customers can avoid paying more on their monthly electricity bills this summer by turning off or raising the temperature on air conditioners during peak hours.

A new summer pricing program for Consumers Energy customers is now in effect. It's an attempt to shift demand for electricity at peak times.

From 2 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, electricity will cost 50% more – or about $0.15 per kilowatt hour – for residential customers. That’s up from $0.10 per kilowatt hour Consumers charges during non-peak hours. That's the same rate charged during rest of the year. Consumers says that could mean a roughly $2 increase on most monthly bills.

Dan Scripps is the chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). He says customers could avoid paying more, or even see their bills decrease, if they take steps to curb their energy use during peak times.

“What we're hoping for is that people respond to the price signals and use the electricity more when it's cheaper and less when it's more expensive,” Scripps says. “And that has a benefit both for their own bill, but for the system as a whole."

MPSC recommends a number of ways to reduce energy use during peak hours:

  • Turn off or raise the temperature on home air conditioning during peak hours.
  • Utilize ceiling fans to maintain household comfort during these times; also close off vents to areas of the home not being used.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to help efficiently manage cooling.
  • Make sure your cooling system is well-tuned and maintained and replace dirty or clogged filters to boost efficiency.
  • Do laundry and run the dishwasher before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. These appliances are typically the most energy-intensive devices in a home.

The new rates are in effect through September 30. The increase is only for residential customers. There’s no rate change for commercial and industrial customers.