Consumers Energy Company makes sure that energy consumers in Michigan have the power to crank up their heaters and the gas to fire up their stoves. The company's operating area includes all 68 counties of Michigan's lower peninsula. All told, Consumers Energy (the primary operating unit of CMS Energy) has a generating capacity of more than 8,330 MW (primarily fossil-fueled), and distributes electricity to 1.8 million customers and natural gas to 1.8 million customers. Included in the utility's arsenal of power production is electricity generated from fossil-fueled, nuclear, wind, and hydroelectric power plants. Utility customers are a mix of residential, commercial, and diversified industrial clients.
Consumers Energy is a subsidiary of CMS Energy.
Electric utility operations (70% of revenue) include the generation, purchase, distribution, and sale of electricity. The company's electric distribution system has 71,450 miles of lines and the gas distribution system delivers 356 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year.
Its gas utility operations (30%) include the purchase, transmission, storage, distribution, and sale of natural gas.
In addition to its electric and gas utility service, the company operates 12 coal-fired and two oil-fired generating plants, 13 hydroelectric plants, a pumped storage generating plant, and several combustion-turbine plants that produce electricity when needed during peak demand periods.
Consumers Energy provides electric service to 275 cities and villages in 61 counties in Michigan. Principal cities served are Battle Creek, Bay City, Cadillac, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Midland, Muskegon and Saginaw. It provides natural gas service in 44 of the 68 counties in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. It serves an area that includes 215 cities and villages. Among the principal cities served are Bay City, Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Macomb, Midland, Royal Oak, Saginaw, and Warren. More than one-half of the utility's gas customers are in metro Detroit.
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The company serves 1.8 million electric customers and 1.8 million gas customers in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
Consumers Energy's overall revenue decreased by almost 2% (reflecting lower gas prices and sales volumes) in 2016 to $6.1 billion, and its net income increased by about 4% to $616 million.
From a net income perspective, electric operating revenues increased by $122 million, reflecting $91 million from rate increases, and a $62 million increase in sales due to favorable weather. These increases were partially offset by a $25 million net decrease in securitization revenue, and a $6 million drop in other revenue.
Gas operating revenue increased by $15 million, reflecting $33 million from a 2016 rate increase, offset partially by an $18 million decrease in sales due to milder winter weather.
Net cash provided by operating activities dropped from $1.8 million to $1.7 million. This decline was due to lower customer collections, offset partially by higher income tax payments to CMS Energy, lower postretirement benefits contributions, and higher net income.
To improve its bottom line and the efficiency of its operations, and in an effort to stem the tide of commercial and residential customers jumping ship for other electricity providers, Consumers Energy is looking at options to reform its rate structures.
The company is being guided by its "Balanced Energy Initiative," a comprehensive 20 year plan (introduced in 2007). The plan calls for the utility to develop new power plants, increase the efficiency of its operations, and expand its renewable energy projects.
Consumers anticipates a continued rise in industrial production in its service territory will drive its total electric deliveries to increase annually by 0.5% through 2021. Excluding the impacts of energy efficiency programs, the company expects its total electric deliveries to increase by 1% a year over the same time period. It also expects that its gas deliveries will remain stable through 2021, reflecting growth in gas demand being offset by energy efficiency and conservation activities.
The company's planned base capital investments of $4.6 billion in 2017 include $2.6 billion to preserve electric utility reliability and capacity and $2 billion at the gas utility to sustain the delivery system and enhance pipeline integrity.
Between 2012 and 2017 the company installed smart meters (advanced meters that allow customers to have better control over their energy use) across its electric power distribution system.