Consumers Energy Company makes sure that the 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 6,130 MW (primarily fossil-fueled), and distributes electricity to 1.8 million customers and natural gas to 1.7 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 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.
Consumers Energy's electric utility operations include the generation, purchase, distribution, and sale of electricity. Its gas utility operations include the purchase, transmission, storage, distribution, and sale of natural gas.
The company's electric distribution system has 66,065 miles of lines and the gas distribution system delivers of 337 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year.
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's revenues increased by 2% on 2011 and its net income increased by 8%. Except for a revenues slump in 2009 caused by the global recession crimping demand, the company saw an upward trend in revenues from 2007 to 2011.
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.
As part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in 2010 Consumers Energy acquired access to about 60,000 acres for the development of Lake Winds Energy Park in Mason County, Michigan, which began operating in 2012. Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola and Huron counties are scheduled to come on stream in two phases in 2015 and 2017.
In 2012 it began installing smart meters (advanced meters that allow customers to have better control over their energy use) across its electric power distribution system.
Consumers Energy is a subsidiary of CMS Energy.