The hot summer has been sending utility bills up for West Michigan residents.  Temperatures will eventually come down, but Consumers Energy customers face another increase on the horizon.

Consumers Energy is planning an increase of $7.75 per month for residential customers.  Consumers Energy plans to begin the rate increase this year, but the increase has to be approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission to remain in place.

Mlive.com explains the reasons for the increase:

Jeff Holyfield, a Consumers spokesman, said the rate change is in part because of $1 billion it has invested to maintain and improve services to customers, as well as elimination of a subsidy to residential users.

About $2 of the rate increase stems from 2008 energy legislation that eliminated subsidies to residential customers. Holyfield said businesses in Michigan have been paying higher rates to keep residential rates lower.

Another portion of the rate increase is because of out-of-state power suppliers providing energy to former customers of the utility, said Holyfield. That means fewer people are paying to maintain Consumers’ electric network in Michigan.