Consumers Energy

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Consumers Energy
IndustryElectric utilities, Natural Gas Utilities
Area served
ParentCMS Energy

Consumers Energy is an investor owned utility that provides natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of Michigan's 10 million residents.[1] It serves customers in all 68 of the state's Lower Peninsula counties. It is the primary subsidiary of CMS Energy.[2] The company was founded in 1886 and is currently headquartered in Jackson, Michigan.[3]


CMS Energy headquarters in downtown Jackson
One Energy Plaza (Jackson, Michigan)

The company was founded in 1886 as Commonwealth Power Company by William A. Foote, who was originally tasked to install electric lighting in downtown Jackson.[4][5] After a series of acquisitions and mergers involving other local electric, gas, and trolley companies which were properties of W.A. Foote, as well as Anton G. Hodenpyl and Henry. D. Walbridge, the company incorporated as Consumers Power Company in 1910 in Maine.[6] It became part of the utility holding conglomerate Commonwealth & Southern Corporation, which held utilities in 10 other states. His wife later founded Foote Hospital, now Henry Ford Allegiance Health, also in Jackson, Michigan.

Commonwealth and Southern dissolved in 1946, leaving Consumers Power (and all other utility holdings) an independent company.[7] After serving Michigan for more than 80 years, the company reincorporated in Michigan in 1968 and maintained its headquarters in Jackson, Michigan.[6][8] Consumers operated the Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant in Charlevoix from 1962 to 1997 and built the Palisades Nuclear Plant near South Haven in 1971, which was sold to Entergy.[9]

In 1968, Consumers Power began construction of a nuclear power plant in Midland, Michigan, primarily for the Dow Chemical Company.[10] However, construction issues caused delays and increased costs. The Three Mile Island accident in 1979 resulted in a massive change in nuclear regulatory requirements and system redesign. When it was revealed the containment buildings were settling and foundation cracks were discovered, Dow cancelled its contract with Consumers Power, and the project was abandoned in 1984. The $4.1 billion investment nearly bankrupted Consumers Power. However, in 1985, Consumers Power formed a partnership with eight other companies to convert Midland's abandoned nuclear plant into a natural gas-fired power plant.[11] Transformation of the plant began in 1986 and was completed at a cost of $500 million. The Midland Cogeneration Venture began producing power in 1991 and that success restored faith in Consumers Power.[12][13][14]

In 1997, the name of the company was changed to Consumers Energy.[15][16] In 2011, Consumers Energy received approval to establish a 100-megawatt wind energy facility in Michigan's Mason County called Lake Winds Energy Park. In 2014, the company announced their second wind farm in Tuscola County with a total investment of $250 million, and named it Cross Winds Energy Park.[17][18] By 2015, Consumers Energy produced ten percent of its electricity from renewable sources.[19]

In 2009, Consumers Energy launched comprehensive electric and natural gas energy efficiency programs that included rebates and incentives for homes and businesses.[20][21] Consumers Energy's trademark slogan is "Count on Us", and it is the primary subsidiary of CMS Energy.[22]

In 2018, Consumers Energy announced plans to retire all coal-burning plants by 2040 and expects to have 40% renewable power by then.[23] In 2018, Consumers Energy became the title sponsor of the August Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

In December 2020, Garrick J. Rochow assumed the role of President & CEO of CMS and Consumers Energy after a 17-year tenure at the company.

System information[edit]

Because of utility regulatory changes, Consumers divested its transmission system. It opted instead to sell the system to the Michigan Electric Transmission Company (METC), currently an ITC Holdings company (which also owns Detroit Edison's transmission system under the "ITCTransmission" brand.) Consumers Energy's primary distribution voltages are 2.77/4.8Y, 4.8/8.32Y, 7.2/12.47Y, 7.97/13.8Y and 14.4/24.9Y. Consumers retained its looped 23kV and 46kV high voltage sub-transmission (HVD) systems and its radial 138 kV lines as well.

Generating portfolio[edit]

Consumers Energy's utility-owned generation portfolio consists of a hydroelectric system, including part ownership of Ludington Pumped Storage, wind farms, nuclear power plant, and coal-fired plants and natural gas peakers.[24][25]


Consumers Energy owns 13 hydroelectric facilities or dams along five rivers in Michigan.[26] Built between 1906 and 1935, the hydros have a combined generating capacity of about 130 megawatts, enough to serve about 70,000 people. Near the hydros are campgrounds, boat launches and nature trails that are popular spots for canoeing, fishing and bird watching. The facilities are located on the Au Sable River (Mio Hydro, Alcona Hydro, Loud Hydro, Five Channels Hydro, Cooke Hydro, Foote Hydro), Grand River (Webber Hydro), Kalamazoo River (Allegan Hydro), Manistee River (Hodenpyl Hydro, Tippy Hydro) and Muskegon River (Rogers Hydro, Hardy Hydro, Croton Hydro).[27] Operating since 1907, the Webber Hydro on the Grand River is the company's oldest operating hydroelectric facility. The Croton Hydro on the Muskegon River was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1979.[28]

Following is a complete, sortable list of Consumers Energy's hydroelectric generating facilities:

Plant River Power (MW) Notes
Alcona Dam Au Sable 8
Allegan Hydro Kalamazoo 3
Cooke Dam Au Sable 9
Croton Dam Muskegon 9
Five Channels Dam Au Sable 6
Foote Dam Au Sable 9
Hardy Dam Muskegon 30
Hodenpyl Hydro Manistee 18
Loud Dam Au Sable 4
Mio Dam Au Sable 5
Rogers Hydro Muskegon 7
Tippy Dam Manistee 20
Webber Hydro Grand 4

Pumped Storage[edit]

Consumers Energy also operates and co-owns (with DTE Energy) the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant near Ludington.[29] Built between 1969 and 1973, the plant sits on a 1,000-acre site along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It includes an 842-acre reservoir that can store up to 27 billion gallons of water — the equivalent of 2 million backyard swimming pools.


Consumers Energy operated the Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant near Charlevoix, Michigan. The plant operated for 35 years, until 1997 when it closed. It was Michigan's first nuclear power plant and the United States' fifth nuclear plant, capable of producing 67 megawatts of electricity.[30] Palisades Nuclear Generating Station (five miles south of South Haven) was previously owned by Consumers Energy and still serves Consumers Energy's system.

Fossil fuels[edit]


Consumers Energy's largest power plant is the coal-powered J.H. Campbell power plant between Holland and Grand Haven.[31] The other remaining coal-fired plant is the D.E. Karn generating station located on Saginaw Bay near Bay City.[32] The Cobb power plant in Muskegon; the Whiting power plant on Lake Erie in Luna Pier, just north of the Michigan-Ohio state line and the J.C. Weadock Generating Plant were all coal plants that ceased operating in 2016.[33] Consumers Energy originally planned to close its remaining coal plants by 2040 but the plan was sped up to close all plants by 2025.[23][34]

Natural gas[edit]

The Midland Cogeneration Venture in Midland was formerly owned by Consumer Power and still supplies power to them.[35] Additional natural gas units are planned to replace the retiring coal plants.

Consumers Energy also uses natural gas and oil peaking units.[36] These include the Zeeland Generating Station, Karn 3&4 Generating Station, and combustion turbine stations.

Natural gas distribution and storage[edit]

Consumers Energy is a natural gas distributor in Michigan. Its annual quantity of 373 billion cubic feet is distributed to its residential and business customers.[37] The company purchases all natural gas that it provides its customers. It serves more than 1.7 million customers through over 27,000 miles (43,000 km) of transmission and distribution pipelines.[38] In 2013, it was fined $1.4 million for its role in two gas explosions that killed three people.[39]

Electric vehicles[edit]

In early 2018, General Motors (GM) and Consumers announced that they formed a partnership to develop "smart charging" technology for owners of electric vehicles. Consumers Energy plans to buy or lease over 100 electric vehicles from GM. The two companies will test new electric vehicle charging technology. The technology will let vehicle owners plug in their car to be charged, but it will delay the actual charging until nighttime during off-peak energy hours. Additionally, Consumers will invest $7.5 million "to encourage the development of EV charging stations across Michigan."[40]


Annually, Consumers Energy awards about $10 million to Michigan nonprofit organizations through grants, employee and retiree contributions and, corporate giving.[41] It has helped to raise over $1.8 million towards United Way's Michigan campaign initiatives, created fund-raising campaigns at their facilities and participated in employee-volunteer events.[42] Consumers Energy has also worked on early childhood development and education in Michigan and has also received Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) compliant certificates for its efforts to promote environmental education.[43][44][45]

In 2013, Consumers Energy was given the William Booth Award by The Salvation Army in recognition of its long history of philanthropic activities and leadership for the PeopleCare assistance program.[46][47] Since the beginning of PeopleCare program, it has contributed $27 million in energy bill credits.[48][49]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Consumers Energy Warns Customers: Increase in Imposters Trying to Enter Homes" (Press release). Consumers Energy. December 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "Consumers Energy prepares for blustery conditions". WZZM News. December 23, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison Open to Compete With Others" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 4 July 1999. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016 – via Highbeam.
  4. ^ Snoblen, Patricia (2013). Jackson County. Arcadia Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-1467110440.
  5. ^ Smith, Leanne (21 October 2011). "Ella Sharp Museum looks at Consumers Energy founder William A. Foote with new exhibit". Jackson Citizen Patriot.
  6. ^ a b "Consumers Power Co". Harvard Business School.
  7. ^ Spurr, Henry Clifford; Nichols, Ellsworth (1950). Public Utilities Reports. Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company.
  8. ^ "Michigan-Based Consumer Energy to Sell Power to Philadelphia Firm". Archived from the original on 2016-05-04.
  9. ^ "Big Rock Point". Nuclear Regulatory Commission. April 1, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  10. ^ O'Dell, John (11 February 1985). "N-Plant 'Whistle-Blower' Disillusioned : His $100-Million Lawsuit Against Bechtel Power Corp. Is Nearing Trial". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Arndt, Michael (19 October 1987). "Electric firm generates its own comeback". Chicago Tribune.
  12. ^ Hylton, Richard D. (September 25, 1989). "Market Place; Nuclear Write-Off To Success Story". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Lascari, Tony (January 15, 2011). "Former Midlander, 'Pioneer for the Environment', dies at 92". Midland Daily News.
  14. ^ "Consumers Energy promotes four employees" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 1 July 2001. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016.
  15. ^ The current Consumers Energy is renamed from Consumers Power Company incorporated in Michigan in 1968. The 1968 Consumers Power is the successor to a previous company incorporated in Maine in 1910 with the name Consumers Power Company. The 1910 Consumers Power, in turn, was the successor to W. A. Foote's Commonwealth Power Company established in 1886.
  16. ^ "CMS Energy buying Duke Energy units". 2 November 1998. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016.
  17. ^ Jordan, Heather (16 September 2015). "100-megawatt wind farm coming to Huron County, Consumers Energy to buy power". Saginaw News.
  18. ^ "Consumers Energy to expand renewable energy with new 100-megawatt wind farm". Crain's Detroit Business. 16 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Report measures impact of renewable portfolio standard". Crain's Detroit Business. 15 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Customer Use of Consumers Energy's Online Billing Sees Steady Growth in First Decade; Significant Green Benefits" (Press release). 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Xcel Energy Overview of 2009/2010 Programs (And Lessons Learned So Far)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  22. ^ Jackson, Lee (6 January 2015). "With Utilities Fully Priced, the Only 4 Stocks to Buy in 2015". 24/7 Wall St. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Flesher, John (19 February 2018). "Michigan's Consumers Energy to stop burning coal by 2040". USA Today. Associated Press.
  24. ^ "Consumers Energy Moving Forward on Renewable Energy and Energy Optimization; Customers to See More Green Power and Energy-Saving Incentives; Files Plans With MPSC" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 8 March 2009. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016 – via Highbeam.
  25. ^ Kruth, Rebecca (18 August 2015). "Consumers Energy launching new solar energy program". Michigan Radio News. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  26. ^ Greene, Jay (8 September 2013). "DTE to expand pilot project to turn landfill gas into usable fuel". Crain's Detroit Business.
  27. ^ "Hydroelectric". Consumers Energy. Archived from the original on 1 February 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  28. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  29. ^ "Pumped Storage Hydroelectricity". Consumers Energy. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  30. ^ Ferguson, Robert L. (2014). Nuclear Waste in Your Backyard. Archway Publishing. p. 302. ISBN 978-1480808591.
  31. ^ Irizarry, Jaleesa (February 22, 2018). "What will happen to the J.H. Campbell Plant?". WZZM News.
  32. ^ "7 Coal Plants Retire". Consumers Energy. Archived from the original on 1 February 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Consumers Energy Closing Second-Most Coal Plants in Nation; Shows Need for Michigan-first Energy Plan" (Press release). CMS Energy. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  34. ^ WSBT 22 (2021-06-28). "Consumer Energy plans to phase out coal power by 2025". WSBT. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  35. ^ "Consumers Seeks License Extension" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 8 May 2000. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016 – via Highbeam.
  36. ^ "Dynegy to Build Michigan Power Plant". Houston Business Journal. 7 June 2001. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  37. ^ "CMS Energy Corp (CMS.N)". Reuters. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  38. ^ "Consumers Energy investing $165M for reliability". The Detroit News. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  39. ^ Goldberg, Keith (13 August 2013). "Consumers Energy To Pay $1.4M Over Deadly Mich. Gas Blasts". Law360. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  40. ^ "Consumers Energy, GM make additional moves to develop electric vehicles, charging stations". Crain's Detroit Business. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  41. ^ Gautz, Chris (7 September 2008). "Consumers Energy training for future at Marshall facility". Jackson Citizen Patriot.
  42. ^ "Consumers Energy Awards First Scholarships Honoring Fallen Employee" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  43. ^ "Consumers Energy's Hunting Policy Protects Safety of Workers, Neighbors" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 11 November 2016 – via PR Newswire.
  44. ^ Oswald, Tom; Mroczek, Patricia (19 March 2015). "MSU engineering celebrates collaboration with Consumers Energy". MSU Today.
  45. ^ "Consumers Energy Partners with College's Residential Program". MSU, College of Engineering. 9 February 2010.
  46. ^ "Can't Pay The Winter Heating Bill? There's Help Available". WWJ News. 7 April 2015.
  47. ^ Mills, Chris (12 March 2015). "Recognizing award nominees". WOOD News. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  48. ^ "Consumers Energy Pipeline Inspections Part of Robust Program Designed to Enhance Safety and Reliability" (Press release). Consumers Energy. 28 July 2015.
  49. ^ Belknap, Elissa (27 February 2015). "Consumers Energy partnering with The Salvation Army for heating help". WOOD News.