Profitt Report: New programs offer savings on your summer energy bill

Consumers Energy is offering new programs that could help you save money on your summer energy bill. Cropped Photo: Susanne Nilsson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

July is known for hot days and warm nights and many of us find sanctuary in our air conditioned homes. However, that cool haven comes at a price.

“Sometimes it can be $500, sometimes it can be $200,” said Kourtney Bourbina of her Consumers Energy bill. An unpredictable energy bill lead her to sign up for Consumers Energy’s budget plan. In this plan, her energy costs are averaged out every month based on her past energy use.

“If you pay more than what you’re allotted for that month, at the end of the year they just credit you and you don't have to pay your last month or two,” Bourbina said.

That way, she has one steady bill, every single month.

Biran Wheeler with Consumers Energy explains, there are other warm-weather based programs to take advantage of.

“If you have a central air conditioning unit and you don't want to think about your daily activities and behaviors, putting a device on your AC unit might be a good approach,” Wheeler said.

They install a device onto your outdoor air conditioning unit and on the hottest days of the year, they’ll remotely shut off the AC compressor for short periods of time.

“The fan will still be blowing and so you'll be pushing out air into your house, you may notice a change in the temperature of your house by one or two degrees,” Wheeler said.

This shut off happens during their peak energy usage times: super-hot days, 2-6 p.m. when everyone is blowing their AC at the same time.

“We provide $25 gift certificates and for the four summer months they're involved, they receive nearly $8 a month in bill credits,” Wheeler said.

Consumers Energy also offer two programs that require a little action on your part. If you enroll in their peak rewards program, they’ll ask you to lower your energy usage during those peak, hot days. Savings are about $5 per peak day, up to 14 days over the summer.

Then there’s their critical peak time program.

“You are making a firm commitment that you'll use less energy on those peak days, if you don't, you'll be paying more,” Wheeler said.

In this program, your energy rate is lower than the standard rate during off peak times, but more expensive during peak times. It’s higher risk but also higher reward with more potential to save money.

“What we're really doing is encouraging people to use a little bit less energy on those days and then that has a real great benefit for everyone else, in addition to saving some money for customers,” Wheeler said.

For more information on these programs, please click here.

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