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Regulators approve Consumers Energy electric rate increase

Consumers Energy

Michigan regulators have authorized Consumers Energy to raise its electricity rates effective next week.

The rates approved Tuesday are less than what the utility "self-implemented" in September, so customers will see a refund plus interest.

But the rates are 2.8 percent, or $113 million, more than those set in Consumers Energy's last rate case in November 2015.

The utility had sought a rate increase of $225 million and had self-implemented a $170 million hike.

The state Public Service Commission says it approved $40 million to be spent deploying innovative grid technology and nearly $25 million for unpaid bills.

Regulators denied the utility's request to increase the cost for customers to opt out of using "smart" meters that some think pose health and privacy risks.