Consumers Energy is a company based in Jackson, Michigan. Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula counties . The company is investing in Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) that will allow its customers to take full advantage of the latest smart metering technology. It enables Consumers Energy Company to realize more operation efficiency and implement demand response programs. Consumers Energy has selected Elster's EnergyAxis residential and commercial smart meters as part of its Smart Grid pilot program which started in 2010 .
Starting in November 2008, the company signed an agreement with IBM to deploy and test an AMI field pilot project with a limited number of electric smart meter and gas meter communications modules . At the beginning of 2010 (February-June), Consumers Energy installed around 6,000 smart meters in Jackson County, Michigan, as a pilot project . After the pilot project, the company is moving toward the full deployment , with the expectation to change its 3.5 million electric and gas meters to smart metering technology by 2015 .
Consumers Energy also works with GE to demonstrate the integration of WiMax communications technology and smart meters . This is the first-ever U.S. smart grid pilot program WiMax technology. The project demonstrates the effect of real-time, wireless communications between meters in the home and the utility’s network management and control systems on efficiency and reliability improvement . Data from GE’s advanced metering infrastructure smart meters in combination with distribution management system give a wide and accurate system of grid operation status in all times.
In addition to the pilot program, Consumers Energy's Smart Services Learning Center (SSLC) located at the utility's Jackson Service Center includes a 2,500 square-foot facility that tests and demonstrates Smart Grid technology effects on service quality and customer satisfaction .