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Consumers Energy's new CARE program helping Michigan residents afford and manage monthly energy costs

Initiative enrolling as many as 12,500 by end of January

JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is helping people afford and manage their monthly energy costs this holiday season and beyond with Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE), a new program that is currently enrolling income-qualified Michigan residents.

"Caring for the communities we serve is our Promise to Michigan, and that starts with offering resources to help some people stay on top of their costs," said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy's vice president of customer experience, rates and regulation. "CARE is an innovative program that truly empowers people, not only to get out of an immediate crisis but to stay out of one in the first place."

CARE provides a variety of assistance through paying past due balances and offering monthly bill credits, basic tips for energy savings, and opportunities for energy-efficiency upgrades. The initiative is available to all Michigan residents who Consumers Energy serves based on income, from $17,235 for an individual up to $59,445 for a household of eight.

CARE will enroll income-qualified customers through the end of January, and space is available for up to 12,500.

For more information or to enroll, contact one of three partner agencies in their area: THAW (877-646-2818), The Salvation Army (http:sawmni.org/cecare) or TrueNorth Community Services (800-379-0221).

"It's important that people know they don't have to wait until they receive a turn-off notice to get help," said Whitney Skeans, Consumers Energy's customer assistance coordinator. "The goal of CARE is to make energy more affordable and therefore easier to manage and pay on time each month."

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information about Consumers Energy, visit us at www.ConsumersEnergy.com or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/consumersenergymichigan.

SOURCE Consumers Energy

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