By: Jodie Solari

If you’re like most people, you wait until you get the coupons from the grocery store before you do your weekly shopping and make purchases based on what is on sale.

You fill up on gas during the week, when it’s usually less expensive.

You wait until the next “biggest sale ever” before you buy new clothes for the changing seasons.

As consumers, we can choose when we purchase things – and there is almost always a less expensive option, usually when demand is less.

With that in mind, we are introducing our Summer Peak Rate beginning in June for our residential customers. Under the previous rate structure, pricing was higher in the summer – no matter what time of day you used energy. With the new Summer Peak Rate, we are providing the information you need to get more control of your energy use and bill by taking advantage of lower cost energy when you shift your use away from the peak hours.

  • “On-peak” rate price: From 2 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, your electricity rate will cost about 1.5 times higher than the “off-peak” rate price ($0.149656/kWh).  
  • “Off-peak” rate price: Customers will pay a lower rate ($0.100649/kWh) for electricity used outside of on-peak times. You will be charged this lower rate 24/7 October through May.

When you reduce your energy use during the on-peak time or shift use to mornings, nights and weekends you will not only potentially lower your electric bill but also help protect the environment. 

A few years ago, we introduced our Clean Energy Plan, which puts Michigan on a path to a smarter energy future. We all know the cleanest (and cheapest) electricity is that which we don’t use – which is why you could be rewarded with a lower bill by reducing your electricity use during on-peak periods this summer. If we can make small changes to reduce energy use, we’ll eliminate the need to make expensive changes in the future, like building new power plants.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are a few small changes you can make that can have a big impact on your energy use and bills:

  • Adjust your air conditioner – Increase your thermostat by 5 degrees F for at least 8 hours per day.
  • Postpone your chores – Run the dishwasher and do the laundry before 2 p.m. and after 7 p.m. on the weekdays or save it for the weekend. If you have delay-start features, load early and start automatically during off-peak hours.
  • Install a smart thermostat – Install a programmable or smart thermostat to control your air conditioner and save up to 15% on your energy bill. Smart thermostats automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings for the best performance. Need help? We have rebates and discounted options available specifically for you at our online store.
  • Refresh your AC filters –Clean or replace your AC filters once a month to allow your air conditioner to run more efficiently.
  • Swap out your lightbulbs – Replace old incandescent bulbs with LEDs for longer-lasting bulbs that can help lower your electric bill. Start with your home’s five most frequently used bulbs and remember to turn off lights when not in use. Visit ConsumersEnergyStore.com to purchase today!
  • Plug into a smart strip or Wi-Fi plug–Plug electronic devices into a smart power strip to prevent them from consuming electricity even when they’re off or in standby mode.
  • Take the guess work out of when you should shift your energy use and let us do it for you by joining one of our programs. Learn more at www.consumersenergy.com/peakpowersavers.

So, going back to the shopping example from the beginning. Price is often driven by supply and demand. If you buy a new summer wardrobe in May, you’re going to pay higher prices – and experience less sales, because everyone is shopping for the same thing. But if you buy your summer wardrobe in August or September – at the end of the season, you’ll find deep discounts and plenty of sales.

And the good news is, with the Summer Peak Rate you don’t have to wait months to realize the discount – you just need to shift your energy use away from the highest demand hours of the day.

Okay, let’s wrap it up by getting real – many people might be wondering, “and what if I don’t?” Well that’s okay. Most customers who do not shift their energy use to off-peak times will see a bill increase of approximately $2/month or less. And remember…the discounted rate is available all weekend, so you won’t have to worry about shifting your use or changing habits on Saturday and Sunday when many of us catch up on the chores we haven’t had time to tackle during the week.

For more information, visit ConsumersEnergy.com/summerrate. You can also learn more about additional steps we’re taking to protect our environment by visiting MiCleanEnergy.com.