Summer in Michigan means vacations, playing on the water, and road construction. (Two out of three ain't bad, right?) It also means you'll be paying a bit more for your electricity thanks to Consumers Energy's peak pricing policy.

What is Peak Pricing?

Peak pricing means the Michigan-based utility company will begin charging customers more for the electricity you use on weekdays between 2 and 7 pm during the summer months. This pricing policy goes into effect on June 1 and lasts through the end of September.

During peak hours, you'll pay roughly one and a half times the normal rate charged during the morning hours, evening hours, and throughout the weekend.

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If you read the fine print, you'll notice that Consumers Energy will also charge a slightly higher rate for off-peak hours compared to non-summer months. (I realize it's three decimal places deep - meaning five thousandths of one cent - but it is indeed higher.)

Here's the price breakdown:

  • On-Peak Pricing - $0.215/kwh - June 1 through September 30 - Weekdays 2-7 pm
  • Off-Peak Pricing - $0.166/kwh - June 1 through September 30 - All other times
  • Regular Pricing - $0.161/kwh - October 1 through May 31

How Will Peak Pricing Impact Your Bill?

According to Consumers Energy, most residential customers in Michigan will pay roughly $2 more per month during the summer months. I used the utility's online calculator and found this to be the case for my family, as we typically spend about $125 per month for our juice.

What Can You Do to Lower Your Energy Bill?

There are a few things you can do to keep this rate increase from having a huge impact on your power bill.

  • First, avoid using your air conditioning during peak hours. If you can cool your home before 2 pm on weekdays and set the thermostat a few degrees higher between 2 pm and 7 pm, your AC may run less.
  • Postpone chores like doing laundry or dishes until after 7 pm.
  • Swap out old incandescent light bulbs for more efficient LED bulbs.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter so your air conditioning units run more efficiently.
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