Classic Seven coal units retired; rates for Consumers Energy drop

Electric rates for Consumers Energy‘s 1.8 million customers will drop by $38 million with the April 15 retirement of the utility’s Classic Seven oldest coal units.

“While we honor the 60 years of service by the Classic Seven, Michigan will now become a little greener with improvements in air quality and reduced water usage. In addition, Consumers Energy residential and business customers can expect more green in their wallets,” said David Mengebier, the company’s senior vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs, in an April 15 statement.

Mengebier noted that the typical residential customer for Consumers Energy pays a total bill that’s about 15% below the U.S. average. The removal of $38 million due to the Classic Seven retirements drops an average residential bill by 1%, or nearly $8 per year.

“Providing customers with affordable energy costs is one of our key principles. That’s helping Michigan companies create jobs, expand their operations and open new facilities here,” said Mengebier. “It’s also vitally important that as we close coal plants, we ensure future electric reliability for Michigan and our customers. That’s why it’s critical that the Michigan legislature act to update our energy law and ensure that we have reliable, affordable and sustainable power supply going forward.”

The “Classic Seven” coal units being shut are:

  • J.C. Weadock Unit 7 (151 MW nameplate);
  • J.C. Weadock Unit 8 (151 MW nameplate);
  • B.C. Cobb Unit 4 (156 MW nameplate);
  • B.C. Cobb Unit 5 (156 MW nameplate);
  • J.R. Whiting Unit 1 (101.2 MW nameplate);
  • J.R. Whiting Unit 2 (101.5 MW nameplate); and
  • J.R. Whiting Unit 3 (124 MW nameplate).

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.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.