OREANDA-NEWS. Homes and businesses that Consumers Energy serves will continue to pay historically low costs for natural gas this winter, with the average household expected to pay $200less than five years ago.

"The price that our customers will pay for natural gas this winter is 65 percent lower than in 2006, which leaves employers and households with more money to spend elsewhere," said Tim Sparks, Consumers Energy's vice president of energy supply operations.

Consumers Energy customers have seen a dramatic decline in the natural gas price they pay. That price has fallen by 36 cents – or 10 percent – just from last winter for every thousand cubic feet of natural gas.

A home using the same amount of natural gas as last winter would spend nearly $25 less this heating season.

Consumers Energy is able to keep prices low thanks to a strategy of buying gas when it costs less in the summer and storing it the company's underground storage system, the largest of its type in the nation. The gas can then be used in the winter, helping Consumers Energy avoid buying gas that would be more expensive.

"Customers are saving money and Michigan's economy is stronger because of our natural gas purchasing strategy and storage plan," Sparks said. "We are proud that our natural gas prices are low, which helps our customers save money when they choose us as their gas supplier."                                                                                                        

People can compare natural gas prices among Consumers Energy and other gas providers through a Michigan Public Service Commission website, www.Michigan.gov/CompareMIGas. Information also is available online atwww.ConsumersEnergy.com/gaschoice.

Consumers Energy encourages customers to take steps to reduce energy waste at their residence and business. Find more than 100 tips on reducing energy waste, and more, at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/energyanswers.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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NATURAL GAS PRICE: A look at Consumers Energy's natural gas commodity price by year (per thousand cubic feet):

2016       $2.95                             2010               $6.99
2015       $3.31                             2009               $7.27
2014       $5.14                             2008               $8.17
2013       $4.63                             2007               $7.73
2012       $5.45                             2006               $8.39
2011       $6.17