A bank acquisition by the parent company of Consumers Energy brought in $ 1 billion for the Michigan utility giant.
CMS Energy, owner of Consumers Energy, sold EnerBank USA last week and announced plans to use the profits for key initiatives within the utility company. Consumers Energy serves 1.9 million electrical customers in Michigan.
EnerBank USA, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a home improvement point-of-sale lender. The financial institution has been under the CMS umbrella for almost two decades, said Rejji Hayes, executive vice president and chief financial officer of CMS Energy and former chairman of the board of EnerBank.
Regions Bank, a subsidiary of Regions Financial Corporation, has now acquired the lender.
The estimated $ 1 billion profit will be used to build more reliable and cleaner energy infrastructure in Michigan, Hayes said.
Related: DTE, consumers agree to raise the solar cap; environmentalists call support a “smokescreen”
Consumers Energy has a $ 13 billion investment project underway to improve electrical infrastructure by replacing poles, conductors and substations on the company’s 90,000 miles of circuits. Plus, money is being invested in vegetation management, such as pruning trees, Hayes said.
“This work allows us to keep the lights on as reliably as possible and again minimize the duration and frequency of outages that customers have had in the past,” he said. “We would like to minimize the type of events, like we had in August.”
Related: $ 25 is not enough – AG says consumers, DTE should reimburse helpless customers for spoiled food, hotels
Summer storms took 920,000 people off the grid of Michigan’s two largest electricity providers, Consumers and DTE Energy. At the time, a spokesperson for Consumers Energy told MLive that the company expects the weather event to rank among the top 15 in Consumers’ 135-year history.
The massive outages sparked criticism of policies that require customers to be off for 120 hours to be eligible for a $ 25 credit on their utility bill. Hayes said moving forward, consumers are supportive of increasing credit and automating the process so that it is not the customer’s responsibility to apply for the credit.
The billion dollars earned from the acquisition will also help fund Consumers’ clean energy initiatives. The company aims to exit its three remaining coal production facilities by 2025. The plan is to replace that capacity with gas and solar power generation. This includes a long-term investment in building infrastructure for 8,000 megawatts of solar power over the next two decades.
More on MLive:
Tariff increase proposed by Consumers Energy is “excessive and unnecessary”, says AG
Consumers Energy wants to add 200 EV chargers across Michigan over the next 3 years
Whitmer pledges to use all renewables for state facilities by 2025
Clean energy jobs rebounded faster than Michigan’s overall workforce