Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe pulled no punches at a kickoff event for the utility's campaign to encourage customers to use less energy in the war against climate change.
"I cannot stress firmly enough that we are in a crisis and must take action right now," she said. "We can't do this ourselves, we need your help."
Poppe plans to take the message across the state of Michigan, encouraging business customers and residential customers to make changes to how much energy they use, and when they use it.
She says the utility's plan to slash carbon emissions by 90% - and avoid building new fossil fuel plants - can't be achieved without greater customer participation in energy efficiency programs.
The utility says it will plant a tree for each customer who clicks on the "Join the Movement" button on the utility's website.
There, residential customers can find dozens of suggestions for reducing energy use, from switching to smart power strips, to enrolling in the utility's peak cycling program, which allows the utility to cycle a home's air conditioning system off for short periods during peak demand times.
The website also offers multiple programs and suggestions for businesses to reduce energy use.
Editor's note: Consumers Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.