JACKSON — Consumers Energy customers can do more than think about saving electricity and natural gas during October’s Energy Awareness Month. They can save money, and get a larger-than-normal incentive check, if they act now on the utility’s offer to pay them to recycle old refrigerators and freezers.

Consumers Energy usually pays a $30 incentive to customers who agree to have outdated, energy-wasting refrigerators or freezers picked up and hauled to a recycling plant. That incentive was recently raised to $50, but the special offer will expire at the end of the year.

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Consumers Energy customers can schedule a free pickup by calling (877) 270-3519, or by visiting consumersenergy.com. Refrigerators and freezers must be in working order with an inside measurement between 10 and 30 cubic feet — standard size for most units. In addition, there must be a clear path for removal. A maximum of two units per household per calendar year will be accepted. This program is made possible by Michigan’s energy reform law, Clean, Renewable and Energy Efficient Act of 2008.

October is also an ideal time to learn about saving energy, and recycling refrigerators and freezers alone creates many benefits. Program participants can save as much as $150 a year on electrical costs by not running an older refrigerator or freezer, which are typically kept in basements and garages for extra cold storage. About 1,000 kilowatt hours can be saved annually, while recycling a single unit repurposes more than 188 pounds of materials such as foam, glass, and metal for future use.

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“Energy Awareness Month can bring to mind the many ways people can pitch in and save energy. This program can also bring costs savings and $50 in spending money, and participants have the added benefit of doing their share to make a difference,” said Consumers Energy’s Sandy Wymer, energy efficiency programs manager for the utility.

Overall, recycling an old refrigerator or freezer has the same beneficial environmental impact of removing two cars from the road for a year. A link to the environmental benefits of appliance recycling is available on Consumers Energy’s website:  http://www.consumersenergy.com/eeprograms/RHome.aspx?id=4117

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.

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