Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest electric and natural gas utility, serving 6.7 million ratepayers, announced on June 7 that it would offer a Budget Plan that would keep residential and business bills consistent year-round.
Indeed, the utility said, under its latest plan, monthly natural gas service would cost about $57; and electric service, about $100.
“The Budget Plan is popular with customers because it takes the guesswork out of energy bills. You may not be able to count on Michigan weather, but you can count on the Budget Plan to keep your energy costs steady year round,” said Amy Walt, Consumers Energy’s executive director of Customer Operations. ” Budget Plan participants pay an equal amount each month for natural gas and/or electric service, instead of paying more when energy usage is typically highest – during hot summer or cold winter months.”
The monthly payment is calculated on the expected energy use for the rest of the Budget Plan year based on the service provided (natural gas, electric, or combination). Energy usage is reviewed quarterly and the plan amount will be adjusted if necessary to avoid surprises at the end of the plan – or when weather or usage changes significantly. At the end of the plan year, if more energy is used, the Budget Plan year-end bill will include the difference. If less energy was used, customers will pay less. Both residential and business customers can sign up for the Budget Plan.
The best time to join is at the beginning of the plan period, Walt noted. For natural gas and combination gas/electric customers that is June 1 through September 30. For electric customers, the best time to join is October 1 through May 31. Customers must be up-to-date on bill payments to enroll.
“We are always working hard to keep the price of natural gas and electricity low for the customers we serve. For example, our natural gas prices are the lowest they have been in 18 years, which puts more money back into the wallets of residents and businesses,” Walt said.