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Officials: Consumers Energy rate increase won’t affect Alpena Power Company customers

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Bob’s Bullpen employee Wendi Schoville fires up an NBA Jam arcade game at the arcade in Alpena on Thursday. Business owners and residents in Alpena who purchase power from Alpena Power Company will not see rate hikes during peak use hours this summer. Consumers Energy is raising rates for electricity used from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., and, although Alpena Power purchases its power from Consumers, a contract dictates how much it pays.

ALPENA — More than 1 million households in Michigan will see their electric bills increase this summer, but customers of Alpena Power Company will not be among them.

Consumers Energy announced that from June 1, through Sept. 30, it will increase its usage fee by 50% for electricity used between what the company considers the peak-use hours of 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Alpena Power Company President Ken Dragiewicz said the company has a contract to purchase power from Consumers, which spells out the rate it pays.

He said the increase will not impact Alpena Power Company, so there is no need to increase rates.

“There will be no impact for our customers,” he said.

Dragiewicz said the contract with Consumers expires at the end of 2024.

Consumers decided to boost rates during the summer, afternoon hours, because of the high demand for power during it, and people use items like air conditioners, which consumes a lot of power. The company said if people try to preserve energy during the peak hours, they will save money.

Even if they don’t, Consumers says most customers will only see about a $2 a month increase in their power bill.

Consumers spokesperson Brian Wheeler told the Detroit Free Press that on a typical summer day in Michigan, when temperature is 80 degrees or higher, demand for electricity doubles during the peak hours.

He said lowering the demand for power is a responsible thing to do.

It’s a supply and demand issue, Wheeler told the Free Press, and when the demand for electricity increases, so does the price. If customers decrease their energy usage as rates increase, that can help the environment.

Even though residents in the Alpena area won’t see the rate hike, that doesn’t mean they can’t take steps to conserve energy and lessen the burden on the power grid and environment.

The Michigan Public Service Commission website suggests residents who want to lower their costs can simply run air conditioners earlier in the morning, before the heat increases later in the day.

Aside from using less air conditioning, officials suggest using ceiling fans and closing less-used vents. Programmable thermostats can also help manage cooling and use air conditioning more efficiently.

Doing laundry, running the dishwasher during off-hours reduces the demand for electricity and residents are encouraged to turn off lights and other items like televisions and radios when not at home.

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