Electricity rate hike coming for Consumers Energy customers

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — The cost for homeowners keeping the lights on in mid-Michigan is going up.

This week, the state of Michigan approved a rate increase for how much Consumers Energy can charge its customers for electricity.

6 News spoke with Consumers about the increase, and has a breakdown of what this means for your family.

Electricity powers our lives.

But making sure the juice stays on comes with a price.

The state has approved a rate hike for Consumers Energy that will generate an extra $113 million per year for the power company.

Spokesman Brian Wheeler says the money will go to making their service more reliable.

“You’ll be seeing Consumers Energy crews clearing away trees and limbs from power lines, you’ll be seeing us make replacements and upgrades so we can make sure people have power when they need it,” Wheeler said.

At first, customers can expect a refund and lower rates for February.

In the fall, the government allowed Consumers to start over-billing people while they worked through a deal.

Now that it’s settled, you could see some of that money coming back.

“It will be spread out across 1.8 million customers. For a typical household, it will probably be perhaps in the single digits of dollars,” Wheeler said.

The rate increase will start next week.

Consumers says it will be an increase of 2.8 percent.

But right now it’s too early to tell how that translates into dollars and cents.

“It will really vary from household to household and business to business, because everyone has a different energy use profile,” Wheeler said.

If you’re concerned about bills going up, the Consumers website has tips on saving energy, and information on programs that help people with bills.

Wheeler says the goal is to be prepared for the unexpected.

“The rates are the cost of making those upgrades to our system,” Wheeler said.

He also added that electricity rates in Michigan are well below the national average, with households spending an average of $3.50 a day on electricity.

Here is a link to the Consumers website: https://www.consumersenergy.com/eeprograms/Home1.aspx?id=4108&linkidentifier=id&itemid=4108

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