In a meaningful effort to help customers facing challenges with their winter energy bills, we are announcing a $25 million contribution to Michigan homes and businesses. The contribution, which has been approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission, is being delivered through $15 million in automatic bill credits to all Consumers Energy electric customers and another $10 million in assistance for financially vulnerable households.
“Consumers Energy cares about Michigan and our customers, and we consider it our mission to look out for the households and businesses that count on us every day,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “We are putting dollars directly in the hands of our customers, particularly for those who need help staying warm and safe in their homes this winter.”
Residential and business electricity customers will receive the $15 million in automatic bill credits for the next 12 months and the amount will be based on individual energy use. Customers do not need to take any action to receive the dollars.
Those interested in receiving some of the $10 million assistance for financially vulnerable households should contact 2-1-1, a free service that connects Michiganders with nonprofits to find help with basic needs, from energy bills to food and shelter.
This $25 million contribution was approved as part of our electric rate review. We understand that times are difficult for our customers, which is why the MPSC- approved increase was carefully considered and deemed essential to continue delivering safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy to our customers. We also understand that customers might wonder why we didn’t just lower the rate increase amount instead of issuing a temporary refund. And the answer is, we believe this is the best way to put dollars directly in the hands of our most vulnerable customers who need help paying their bills.
Due to inflation and other factors, the costs of many goods and services are high right now – including producing and transmitting electricity. In addition, there are things that need to be fixed and improvements that need to be made while still covering the costs of generating power. So, while a rate review is necessary, we are mindful of how that impacts customers. You can think of the automatic bill credit as a “coupon” of sorts to help offset the overall rate increase. And we are continuing to work every day to find ways to keep bills as low as possible.
While this is a substantial contribution, it is not our first when it comes to helping our customers. In all, we have provided over $37 million in help for energy bills and basic needs since the start of last year. In December, we provided another $7.25 million to nonprofits to help customers in need.
As always, customers are encouraged to call 800-477-5050 if they are facing challenges with their bill.