Consumers Energy has a new program that might encourage households to change their habits through summer. Michigan, your energy bill just up.
Last week, Consumers Energy announced that over 1.6 million customers will see a 50% jump in their electric bill this summer. Through September, Consumers Energy will charge more during peak afternoon hours that will see households in much of the state’s Lower Peninsula.
That means the average household will pay roughly $2 more per month during this period, a number arrived at after a smaller study took place in 2019 before the jump was rolled out to the general public this summer.
In one sense, it’s an effort to get the average family to adopt similar load-shedding practices that manufacturers have sworn by for a century. Basic household activities like vacuuming, running the dishwasher, or using air conditioning have a big impact on the energy grid, and as schools wrap up and the temperature rises, there is good reason to believe many families will have to keep energy in mind.
With many workplaces still encouraging remote work this summer, many Michigan families will have parents and kids at home this summer, which may make it harder to control energy use during peak times. Consumers Energy says that the rate per kilowatt-hour during peak times this summer will be roughly 15 cents, up from 10 cents during off-peak hours of the day.
Will the program change behaviors? That 2019 study saw some reduction in energy use in its test group. That cohort reduced electricity use during peak times by about 3.5%.
All of this is aimed at changing energy demand and reducing peak-hour use as Consumer’s Energy transitions to more and more renewable energy resources. By rounding off the peak load, the utility believes it can meet the demands of more homes using renewable energy like wind and solar.
Like everything, COVID-19 has changed how Michiganders use energy. Overall, energy use is down since March 2020, when the pandemic first shut down schools and businesses. As the world restarts and more businesses bring their teams back to the office this summer, experts are already noting a gradual rise in consumption. Efforts like this should help keep energy use and sustainability on the minds of Michiganders at home and encourage more of us to bring that mindset to the office when we go back as well.
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