$95 million increase in consumer energy prices approved by the state commission

JACKSON, Mich. — State officials have approved price increases for natural gas customers of Consumers Energy and Michigan Gas Utilities Corp.

The Michigan Public Service Commission approved the settlement agreements on August 30, allowing Consumers Energy to raise its rates by $95 million, which is a decrease of more than 55% from the initial increase of $212 million. The company is headquartered in Jackson.

Consumers sought an increased rate to address capital infrastructure improvements, investment in technology and operational efficiencies, and increased financing costs.

The rate increase will go into effect Oct. 1, 2023, which will cost the typical customer a $4.20 monthly increase on their bill — an increase of 4.2%, according to the Public Service Commission. The most recent $170 million gas rate increase to consumers was approved in July 2022.

The agreement also allows consumers to spend $214 million on an Enhanced Infrastructure Replacement Program on at least 110.8 miles of installed primary replacement through September 30, 2024. The Company agrees to work with MPSC employees and other interested parties to provide information about the program. costs to potentially support lower unit costs in the future.

Consumer officials noted that the improvements are part of the company’s natural gas delivery plan, a 10-year, $12 billion plan to modernize the pipeline and storage system that delivers natural gas to homes and businesses.

“We are pleased that we were able to reach a settlement agreement with stakeholders that was approved by the Public Committee yesterday. Consumers Energy continues to make upgrades that enhance our natural gas system and reduce emissions,” said Brian Wheeler, Director of Consumer Media Relations.

MPSC also approved a settlement agreement allowing Michigan Gas Utilities to raise the base rate for natural gas to $9.9 million. that increase More than 48% less than the $19.1 million increase It sought to finance safety and reliability upgrades and cover the rising costs of materials and labor and the impact of rising interest rates and inflation.

Michigan Gas Utilities’ rate increase, effective January 1, 2024, will cost the typical residential customer a $5.10 monthly increase on their bill, an increase of 6.6%, according to the commission.

MGU, which serves about 183,000 customers across the west and south of the Lower Peninsula, was last approved for a price increase of $9.25 million in September 2021.

Michigan gas utilities could not be reached for comment.

The settlement agreement was signed by Consumers Energy, Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office, MPSC employees, and several stakeholders in the case, including the Retail Energy Supply Association, Michigan State University, the Residential Customer Group, and the Michigan Citizens Utilities Board.

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