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Updated December 15, 2009, 10:01 pm

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Your Energy Dollar Hard at Work

The company spends a significant amount on maintaining, upgrading and expanding its electricity and natural gas distribution systems.

Energy Value: Electricity and Fuel Purchases

Consumers Energy buys coal and other fuels to make electricity and then recovers the cost under prices authorized by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Increasing the use of lower-priced Western coal from Wyoming and Montana helps lower fuel costs for coal-fired power plants.

Energy Value: Natural Gas and Delivery

Consumers Energy buys natural gas and delivers the gas to customers for home heating, cooking and manufacturing and then recovers the cost under prices authorized by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Typically by November, Consumers Energy has 90 percent of the natural gas its customers will need during the winter under fixed-price contract or in underground storage.

Power Plant Operation, Maintenance and Environmental Compliance

Our power generation fleet is the oldest in the nation, averaging 50 years. Eventually, it will need to be replaced as the units become costly and inefficient to maintain.

Despite the challenges that accompany aging facilities, we've made significant contributions to keeping Michigan's air as clean as it's been in the modern era. We continue to focus on complying with the federal Clean Air Act and the many related state and federal regulations governing air quality.

By switching to low-sulfur Western coal and making significant investments in control technology, we've slashed emissions at our coal-fired generating plants, reducing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 80 percent since 1975 and cutting nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 70 percent since 1990.

We plan to spend $1.6 billion between now and 2017 to further reduce emissions at our coal-fired power plants. The investments will include scrubbers for SO2 with fabric filters that are scheduled to begin operating at our two largest coal-fired units in 2014 and 2015.

Investment to Improve Reliability

Each year, we review potential growth and past performance and plan infrastructure improvements and line-clearing activities to maximize systemwide reliabilty.

Trees are involved in a third of all electric outages. That's why we maintain an efficient electric line-clearing plan that helps reduce the number and duration of power outages. Learn more.

All of this helps ensure we provide Michigan communities with reliable energy in a safe manner at affordable prices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Customer Support 24/7

As the nation's fourth largest combination electric and natural gas utility, we serve nearly 6.5 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Besides delivering electricity and natural gas, we provide a variety of services that include: meter reading, producing and mailing a bill and maintaining a dedicated customer service center at (800) 477-5050. Contact us.

We also manage customer-specific programs that include: low-income customer assistance with Energy Answers, Budget Plan to help you manage your monthly payments and eServices, our comprehensive online tool to help manage your account and pay bills.