Electricity is about to get more expensive for Consumers Energy customers.
The utility is starting its Summer Peak Rate on Tuesday, June 1, raising the cost per unit of electricity by 50% from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays through the end of September.
Consumers expects customers will only pay about $2 extra per month because of the change.
Warm summer afternoons are when energy is used most. Consumers wants to discourage energy usage at those peak times so it doesn’t have to build more power plants to meet demand, Greg Stevenson – Consumers director of summer peak rates – told MLive in early May.
“If that peak is lowered, we don’t have to build anything,” Stevenson said. “That’s the whole clean energy plan.”
Electricity during non-peak hours will cost the same as it does the rest of the year. The 50% price increase is only for residential customers, there’s no change for commercial and industrial customers.
Consumers had planned to start the statewide program in 2020, but postponed it because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company worked with the Michigan Public Service Commission on the plan.
To avoid a higher bill, Consumers has a few recommendations for customers:
Avoid doing chores like running the dishwasher or doing laundry between 2 and 7 p.m.
Replace old lightbulbs with more efficient LEDs
Clean or replace air conditioning filters once a month for more efficiency
Turn down your air conditioner – adjusting the temperature by one degree can impact bills by 1 to 3%
Install a smart thermostat and join the Smart Thermostat Program, which can automatically turn down your air conditioning during peak hours
The MPSC projects the average monthly Consumers electric bill to go from $79.46 in 2020 to $93.22 in 2021, a 17.3% increase. It’s the largest expected price jump of all utilities – with DTE Energy coming in second with a projected 5.6% increase.