Publish Date: September 18, 2023
The Consumers Energy Gas Bill Impact Analysis demonstrates that Michigan utility Consumers Energy’s residential customer gas rates will steadily increase over the next several decades – up to 49% over 2021 levels – due to projected utility capital expenditures and energy efficiency and electrification trends.
Consumers Energy, a subsidiary of CMS Energy that provides services for 1.8 million gas and 1.9 million electric customers throughout Michigan, released its 10-year Natural Gas Delivery Plan (NGDP) in December 2020. The NGDP identified $11 billion in capital investment additions to the rate base from 2020 – 2030 meaning that the value of Consumers Energy’s infrastructure called the “rate base,” will nearly double between 2021 and 2030 despite the company projecting almost no customer growth.
According to our impact analysis, which considers the Consumers Energy plan along with modest, customer- and market-driven electrification and efficiency efforts among the utility’s customers the total potential bill increases that Consumers Energy residential customers may experience trends up to approximately 49% by 2030. Translated into real dollars, the average monthly residential customer bill was approximately $75 in 2021 and is expected to increase to between $114 and $131 by 2030 based on the status quo. If gas prices return to 2008 highs, bills could reach $143/month in 2030.
The analysis underlines that to safeguard the public interest and protect vulnerable customers from being unduly burdened by an overbuilt gas system, public policy must evolve to adequately scrutinize new capital investments in the gas distribution system.
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