Rebate program helps Michigan school districts transition from diesel to electric school buses

What’s happening: From the highways to our parks and into our waterways, Michigan is in the midst of a big push to bolster its electrification infrastructure for all things mobility. Public utility Consumers Energy has been helping Michigan school districts in their own efforts to electrify school bus fleets, and largely in more rural and remote areas of the lower peninsula.

Plugging in: Last year, school districts throughout the country were awarded nearly $1 billion in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency to electrify their bus fleets; 25 Michigan public schools and districts received $54 million in the first round of the five-year electrification program. Since then, Consumers Energy has enrolled 11 of those school districts in their PowerMIFleet rebate program to further ease the financial costs of transitioning from diesel to electric buses.

Who’s onboard: Consumers Energy has so far helped 11 school districts switch to electric buses through their PowerMIFleet program, which offers financial rebates for chargers, and provides expertise and electrical work. Those so far benefiting from the program include the largely rural school districts of Alcona, Au Gres-Sims, Beecher, Britton Deerfield, Cadillac, Jackson, Homer, Hopkins, Pellston, Pentwater, and Sand Creek.

Why it’s important: “Having never been through the process before, electrification of our bus fleet seemed like a daunting task. I couldn’t be more grateful for how easy Consumers Energy made the process with absolutely zero dollars out of our district’s budget,” says Stephen Seelye, superintendent of Pellston Public Schools. Pellston was one of the first school districts to put their new electric buses on the road this past April and, according to a release from Consumers Energy, Pellston Public Schools reduced their bus operating costs by 45 cents per mile, saving more than $1,300 in the immediate four-week period following their implementation.

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