The cost of just about everything is going up...from gas for our cars, to groceries to feed our families, and now electricity to power our homes.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a $155 million rate hike and a $6 million surcharge for Consumers Energy customers. The utility company didn't get as much as they had wanted -- they originally requested an increase of $272 million and then later upped that to $293.5 million! Consumers Energy serves customers in the western and central parts of the Lower Peninsula.

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How Much More Per Month Will My Electric Cost?

According to Consumers Energy, the typical residential customer uses about 500 kilowatt hours of electric a month. For that amount of electricity usage, the customer should see an increase of $2.10, or 2.06% of their monthly bill total. The good news is after a year, that amount will decrease by $1.33, or 1.28% because of a surcharge and credit that expires. After that, the hike will only cost residents about 77 cents more per month, or a 0.75% increase overall.

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When Does the Increase Go Into Effect?

The new rates went into effect on Friday, January 20th, 2023. Consumers Energy is also issuing a one-time voluntary refund of $15 million in revenue from 2022 through an automatically applied, 12 month credit. That refund is included in the Michigan Public Safety Commission's estimate for the rate increase.

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Help is Available for Low Income Customers

Consumers Energy announced that a total of $10 million in shareholder-funded contributions will be set aside for programs to help low-income customers pay their bills. Those struggling to pay their bill can all the company at (800) 477-5050 and request assistance. Consumers Energy has provided $37 million in energy bill assistance since the start of last year.

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What Will the Increase Be Used For?

Consumers Energy has a plan to end the use of coal-powered energy in 2025. The electricity production will be replaced with natural gas plants. They also plan to use renewable energy sources like solar.

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An Incentive for Electric Vehicle Owners

As part of the rate hike agreement, Consumers Energy is making their PowerMIDrive incentive program for residential electric vehicle charging permanent. This incentive includes a $500 rebate for installation of an at-home charger and a $10 monthly discount. The company has a goal to power 1 million electric vehicles by the year 2030.

Ways to Save on Your Energy Costs

You can learn how to manage your winter energy and save money on the Consumers Energy website.

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