We are exploring the possibility of selling our 13 hydro facilities, with the first step being sending out a request for proposal (RFP).

Last year, we held a series of public meetings where community members and local leaders expressed desire for a solution to keep the reservoirs – the lakes created by our dams.

After receiving that feedback, one solution we are exploring is the possibility of divesting our hydro facilities to safely maintain the reservoirs while minimizing the cost impact to our customers. There has been no final decision, however. The dams continue to be evaluated as we consider all options about their future.

“After numerous conversations over the past year, it is clear the reservoirs are important for economic and recreational opportunities in these communities across Michigan,” said Norm Kapala, vice president of generation operations.

“But we also know that the current model for financing our hydro power operations requires customers to pay more than nine times for the cost of energy compared to other sources of generation. Today’s announcement is an initial step we need to take to learn more about what selling the facilities might look like. If we choose to move forward and sell these facilities, our hope is we can minimize that cost burden for customers while keeping the reservoirs in place.

We began working with local officials and meeting with community leaders last year as licenses for the company’s dams begin to expire in 11 years. We continue to work with Public Sector Consultants, a nonpartisan research and public policy firm based in Lansing that specializes in public engagement and has deep expertise in local and state dam projects.

Together, we are planning another series of public community meetings this summer and into the fall with the goal of collecting feedback from the community and discussing what a potential sale of the dams would mean, as well as other options being considered.

For community meeting details, to provide comments, and more information about the process, visit: ConsumersEnergy.com/HydroFuture.

“We know communities and the residents that treasure these dams will have questions about the future,” said Kapala. “That’s why we will continue to provide timely updates and be transparent throughout this decision-making process. We share their goal of safely maintaining these impoundments for decades to come.”