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June 6, 2024

Media Contact:
Danny Wimmer

Attorney General to Review, Contest Consumers Energy’s Latest Rate Hike Request

LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a notice of intervention this week in Consumers Energy Company’s latest electric rate case (U-21585) before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), filed on May 31, 2024. Consumers Energy seeks a rate hike of approximately $303 million annually which, if approved, would take effect in March of 2025. Only three months ago, the MPSC approved a $92 million electric rate hike for Consumers, which took effect this March.

Consumers Energy also seeks to recover an additional $21.8 million in deferred distribution expenditures through a separate 12-month customer surcharge beginning in March 2025. If the annual rate increase is approved, it would increase rates overall by 6.5% and if the separate surcharge is also approved, the total rate increase would be 7% for the period March 2025 through February 2026.

“Our intervention in these cases is vital to ensuring corporate utilities aren’t successful in their efforts to stuff unjustifiable costs into their rate hike requests,” said Nessel.  “There are standards concerning what costs Consumers Energy, DTE, and our other utility companies are allowed to pile onto their customers’ bills in their rates and other charges. My office is working diligently to hold the utilities accountable and keep unjustified expenses off the monthly bills of ratepayers.”

Attorney General Nessel is intervening in this rate case as she does in all utility rates cases before the Commission. The Department of Attorney General’s staff, along with its experts, will carefully scrutinize the filing to ensure customers do not pay any costs that are not associated with a commensurate, quantifiable benefit to them. In Consumers Energy’s last electric rate case, the company originally sought a rate hike of $216 million, but the Commission only approved a $92 million rate increase based on the arguments made by the Attorney General and other parties. In that case, the Attorney General’s experts successfully argued that Consumers Energy’s requested rate hike was excessive and not supported on the record. The Attorney General argued Consumers’ projections and expenses were unreasonable and did not provide commensurate customer benefit. The MPSC slashed Consumers’ rate hike request by nearly 60%.

The Attorney General is currently seeking a similar 58% reduction in DTE’s latest requested gas rate hike, finding the utility included in their request unsubstantiated costs, including an attempt to pass on to customers the expenses of executive corporate jet travel. In its own ongoing gas rate case, Consumers Energy filed an application seeking a 37% increase in its residential monthly charge alongside a $136 million rate hike, and the Attorney General has argued that more than 96% of this requested sum is unjustified.

“We’re winning significant cuts to proposed bill increases when we make our case before the Commission,” Nessel added. “We will continue putting resources into scouring these rate hike requests to defend Michigan bill-payers in every rate case before the MPSC.”

Consumers Energy’s latest rate hike request is in large part predicated on implementing its $7 billion Five-Year Distribution Plan that the Attorney General previously criticized as lacking in affordability, reliability, and accountability.

Consumers Energy Company is a subsidiary of CMS Energy, headquartered in Jackson and billing approximately 1.9 million electric customers. Consumers Energy additionally sells natural gas to 1.8 million customers, which is used primarily to heat homes and businesses during the winter as well as for other uses.

Since taking office, Attorney General Nessel has helped save Michigan ratepayers more than $3 billion.