Of all the days - when we're expecting to see temps in the upper 90s - I pick today to remind you that Consumers Energy raises its rates during peak usage times.

We told you last year about Consumers Energy's plan to help ease the strain on the energy grid by encouraging customers to use less electricity during peak hours. This year, however, news that the utility was once again employing the practice slipped under the radar.

What Are the Details?

Consumers Energy's summer-rate program began on June 1 and continues through September 30.

  • On-Peak rates are in effect Monday through Friday from 2 pm to 7 pm. According to Consumers Energy's website, you'll pay a rate that is about 1.5 times more than off-peak rates. A Consumers Energy representative told me amount you'll pay is about three cents more for each kilowatt-hour used.
  • Off-Peak rates are in effect during all other times and 24 a day during the non-summer months of October through May.

Ways to Avoid Paying More for Your Electricity

There are a couple of ways you can use the program to your advantage and avoid higher energy bills.

The biggest way to cut back on power usage is an obvious one. Set your thermostat a few degrees higher during peak hours in order to run your air conditioning less.

Also, avoid using major appliances like the washer, dryer, and dishwasher during peak hours whenever possible.

The Good News

There is some good news in all of this. If you ignore these recommendations and continue to use electricity as you normally would, the average customer will see an increase of about $2 per month on their energy bills.

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