New Energy Efficiency Settlement Will Help Low-Income Customers In Flint and Other Michigan Communities Facing High Energy Burden

Sierra Club recently reached a new settlement with Consumers Energy that will improve and expand the utility’s energy efficiency programs, particularly for low-income customers in Michigan. The settlement follows sustained advocacy by Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program to ensure that utility programs target the neighborhoods most in need of resources for home weatherization and related repairs. The Chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission called the settlement representative of “some of the most significant and underappreciated work that happens at the Commission,” crediting Sierra Club and the other advocates by name when the settlement was approved in early February. 

In the settlement, Consumers agreed to boost its overall energy efficiency savings and to invest $15 million more than the company had originally proposed in income-qualified (low-income) energy efficiency programs. Consumers must commit $2.25 million for the Flint Initiative, which is an energy efficiency program for low-income Flint residents, and continue the program through at least 2025 instead of ending in 2024 as Consumers had originally proposed. Consumers also committed to launch a similar program in a second community by March 31, 2025. Consumers must incorporate stakeholder and community input when identifying a second location for targeted outreach and services to high energy burden households. In addition to the neighborhood targeting programs, the settlement includes a number of other positive outcomes to help Michigan households reduce their energy use and energy bills, as detailed here.

Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Housing Trust, and the Ecology Center participated as co-intervenors in the docket leading to the settlement. ELP managing attorney Elena Saxonhouse and outside counsel at Earthjustice represented the Club in the settlement negotiations.