Expect more electric vehicle charging stations and higher electric rates from Consumers Energy in 2019.

A $10 million electric vehicle charging project and $99 million electric rate increase were separately approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission on Thursday, Jan. 10 .

The three-year electric vehicle pilot project allows for rebates to install and use public and private chargers across Michigan.

Consumers will offer up to $5,000 each in rebates to 200 stations in public places and $70,000 in rebates each for 24 fast charging stations near highways, per Consumers spokesman Brian Wheeler and an MPSC press release.

"People may have home chargers, but if they're traveling from say Jackson to Mackinac Island or the U.P., they'll need places where they can stop to charge their vehicles and do it quickly," Wheeler said.

Charging times vary by the vehicle and charging station, said Kevin Miller, ChargePoint director of public policy. The California business has 1,100 stations in Michigan and 59,000 across the country.

"On the top end, you're talking about charging a vehicle in 10 minutes or less," Miller said. "But that's all a process coming in the future as EV technology itself progresses and they can accept that higher level of charge."

ChargePoint is looking to work with Consumers and its $10 million investment to build more stations in the state, Miller said. Michigan is already one of the leaders in building electric vehicle station infrastructure, he said.

In addition to installation rebates, residents with electric vehicle charging stations will receive $500 to keep their charging between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

At the same meeting, the MPSC agreed to a rate decrease and increase for Consumers electric customers.

The $24 million rate decrease is coupled with the elimination of a $123 million credit to customers from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It results in a $99 million increase and goes into effect Jan. 10.

A customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see monthly bills increase by $1.62.

Electric rates were last increased in March 2018 by $65.8 million. Natural gas rates for were last increased by Consumers in August by $10.6 million.

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