JACKSON, Mich., March 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With the installation of 900,000 communicating electric meters and 100,000 gas communication modules, Consumers Energy continues to invest in new technology to benefit its residential and business customers. The project will be completed next year, when 1.8 million customers have access to more information and control over how they use their energy.
"The meter sends us one text-type message of each home and businesses' energy use for the day, assuring our customers receive an accurate bill each month," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president and chief customer officer. "Estimated bills will become a thing of the past."
The upgraded electric meters now send daily energy use information to Consumers Energy, enhancing billing accuracy through the elimination of estimated meter reads and providing customers with access to their energy use information online.
A more immediate benefit of the new meters began this month: Customers can now choose their own due date for electric bills.
"We're striving to find new and innovative ways to provide value to our customers, and offering a more convenient day to pay is the next step," Rochow said.
More than 900,000 Consumers Energy electric customers can now log on at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/smartenergy and click on a button to start the process. The secure online access to daily energy use information at the site also reflects electric consumption trends that both residential and business customers can use to track their energy usage more closely and predict their bills before they arrive.
In July, more than 100,000 Consumers Energy natural gas customers will gain online access to check their daily natural gas consumption thanks to recently installed communication modules. As part of the electric meter upgrade, Consumers Energy is installing communication modules on 600,000 natural gas meters of customers who also receive electric service, allowing remote meter reads of gas meters through the electric meters, which will also eliminate estimated meter reads for their natural gas.
Consumers Energy began updating electric meters in Benzie County this spring, adding to ongoing efforts in the Kalamazoo, Flint and Traverse City regions. The Battle Creek, Adrian, Ludington, Saginaw, south Midland and Tawas regions are scheduled for meter upgrades in 2016, while the Clare, Jackson, Lansing and north Midland areas will get meter upgrades in 2017.
"Consumers Energy is committed to building a smarter, more reliable energy infrastructure, and our meter technology is just one of the investments we're making in Michigan's energy future," Rochow said.
Learn more online at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/smartenergy.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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This news release contains "forward-looking statements." The forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause Consumers Energy's results to differ materially. All forward-looking statements should be considered in the context of the risk and other factors detailed from time to time in Consumers Energy's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy