MEC, AG Nessel and allies work to block Consumers rate hike
In an effort to advocate for Michigan customers, four groups announced today they are joining Attorney General Dana Nessel to intervene in Consumers Energy’s proposal to raise electric rates in Michigan.
The groups intervening are the Michigan Environmental Council, Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council.
In December 2020, the Commission approved a $90.2 million rate increase, which went into effect January 1 of this year. The utility company originally asked for an increase of $254 million during that case, but MEC and allies were able to blunt it.
If the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approves Consumers Energy’s $225 million rate increase request, residential customers would see an additional 8.3% rate increase while industrial customers would see a 4.2% increase and commercial customers would see a bump of 0.4%.
“Renewable energy is cheaper than ever before and energy efficiency is actively saving Michigan ratepayers over $3 for every $1 invested in those programs,” said Charlotte Jameson, the program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water for the Michigan Environmental Council. “We have the tools at our disposal to transition to clean energy and in so doing create jobs and reduce utility bills. There is no reason for Consumers to put forward a rate case that doesn't prioritize residential ratepayer affordability, especially during an ongoing pandemic and economic downturn. We urge the Commission to significantly reign in Consumers’ proposed residential rate increase for the sake of utility accountability and better access to affordable electricity for all Michigan residents.”
“Consumers Energy continues to attempt to raise rates on Michigan residential customers with little regard for people’s ability to pay their monthly electric bills in this time of economic stress,” said Amy Bandyk, executive director for Citizens Utility Board of Michigan. “Consumers Energy just raised monthly electric bills three months ago — in the midst of a recession and pandemic. Michigan consumers need a break.”
“Consumers Energy’s request to increase rates on struggling Michigan families is wrong,” said Derrell Slaughter, Michigan clean energy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “If left unchecked, the utility will force these families to deal with excessive bills during times of economic hardship brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Consumers Energy should not be requesting an additional $225 million rate increase just a few months after they hiked up their monthly electric bills,” said Jan O'Connell, energy issues organizer and Michigan development director for Sierra Club. “Michigan citizens deserve better than this, especially during these challenging economic times of the pandemic. This would exacerbate the already disparate and unjust rate burden among residential and low-income customers.”
By Byrum & Fisk; edited by Beau Brockett Jr.