Consumers Energy is introducing new rates that surcharge peak hours of electrical use during the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday between June and September.

The reason for higher rates

The reason for this is to discourage using energy at the same time as when others are increasing their use. According to Consumers Energy, this new approach supports their Clean Energy Plan and will help them generate 90% of their power with renewable energy by the year 2040.

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How much extra will cost each month?

Now before you freak out and get your panties in a wad, the higher rates that you'll be paying, really aren't that high. The average customer will see less than a $2/month difference in their bill. I wanted to point this out right away because I see people on social media that are all pissed off, thinking they were going to be paying so much more every month.

Greg Stevenson, director of summer peak rates:

The on-peak rate will be higher during the summer when many people are home with their air conditioning units blasting or they are running laundry machines. The off-peak times will have a lower rate to encourage energy use throughout the day, so the effect on the grid is leveled off.

It's probably a bit challenging but they would like to see customers running appliances outside the peak hours to avoid the charge. Let's be honest though, this when people are getting home from work and when it's most convenient.

It gives them that time period where energy is more costly but then it also gives them that off-peak time. If they can make small behavioral changes, they can save on their bill.

They say you get more control over your bill because customers will pay a lower rate price for electricity used outside of on-peak times. This is the same rate you would pay from October through May. I say it's pretty hard for people to break habits and they're going to be running appliances when it works best for their schedule.

At the end of the day, it won't cost all that much.

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