JACKSON (WWJ) – As a result of strong customer interest, Consumers Energy says its energy efficiency incentive program for electric business customers has reached its 2011 energy savings goal.

Since the electric incentive program began in July 2009, the utility reports more than 5,000 commercial and industrial customers have saved nearly 350 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, reducing their electric bills by an estimated $24 million a year.  The energy saved is enough to power 43,700 homes and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 315 tons each year.

“We know that our customers value services that help them save energy and save money.  We work with them every day to find ways to do that,” said Fred Alatalo, program manager of business energy efficiency programs.

“We collaborate with customers to find incentives that will help them invest in new energy-efficient equipment that provides them long-term value. Local businesses supply this equipment and install it, so this program helps local businesses and strengthens local economies.”

The utility says it will still receive applications to the program for this year on a waitlist basis. Natural gas business customers still may apply for 2011 incentives from the Consumers Energy Business Solutions Program.  That program offers incentives for commercial and industrial gas customers to install new energy-efficient equipment.

Alatalo said the company’s energy efficiency programs were part of the customer benefits from the state’s 2008 energy law.  That law calls for Consumers Energy and other utilities to work with customers to help them reduce their use of electricity by 5.5 percent and their use of natural gas by 3.85 percent by 2015.

In 2010, more than 205,000 Consumers Energy business and residential customers took part in the utility’s energy efficiency programs and saved an estimated $38 million last year by implementing a wide range of electric and natural gas energy efficiency measures.  Over the lifetime of those energy efficiency measures, customers are projected to have total savings of $428 million.

“The strong customer response to our energy efficiency programs shows that customers care about energy efficiency and recognize the value that these programs offer them.  It’s exciting to work with customers and help them find new ways to save energy and save money.  At Consumers Energy, we tell customers to ‘count on us’ when it comes to energy services and this is another way we can bring value to customers,” Alatalo said.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information about Consumers Energy, visit www.consumersenergy.com



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