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The Business Solutions program of utility Consumers Energy awarded $7.3 million in energy-efficiency incentives in the fourth quarter of 2012 to Michigan commercial and industrial customers.

The utility says these projects are saving the 1,695 participating customers an estimated $9.5 million in energy costs each year. The annual energy savings are 71.7 million kWh of electricity and more than 236,500 Mcf of natural gas.

"The Business Solutions program helps our business customers reach their goals of becoming more energy-efficient and reducing their operating expenses," says Fred Alatalo, the utility's business energy efficiency operations director. "By working with customers and providing these incentives to help them lower their costs, we're helping many Michigan businesses strengthen their competitive position."

Last year, Consumers Energy awarded $17.4 million in incentives for energy efficiency measures, the company says.

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