CMS Energy Corp

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
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Jackson, United States
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: CMS Energy Corp (CMS Energy) appears to have largely negative engagement with climate change policy. The company has minimal top-line messaging on climate change but appears to be engaged at the federal and state level to preserve the role of fossil gas in the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: CMS Energy has minimal top-line messaging on climate policy. The company does not appear to have clearly commented on the need for IPCC-recommended emissions reductions, focusing only on reducing operational emissions as outlined in its 2021 Clean Energy Plan. However, in July 2021, CMS Energy signed a C2ES joint letter to Congress advocating for ambitious climate policy to transition to a net-zero economy.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: CMS Energy appears to engage on climate policies with mixed positions, demonstrating more negative positions on state-level policies than on federal-level proposals. In April 2021, CMS Energy testified in opposition to Michigan House Bill 4477, which would allow for the establishment of microgrids to support critical facilities. In February 2021, the company directly advocated to Michigan policymakers in opposition to a bill that would eliminate the cap on distributed energy in the state, which is currently set at 1% of a utility’s average in-state peak load for the past five years. Previously, in October and May 2019, respectively, Energy News Network reported on the company’s opposition to two Michigan state renewable energy bills: one bill incentivizing community solar and another that would encourage microgrid expansion. In February 2018, CMS Energy did not appear to support a proposal to introduce a 30% by 2030 renewable energy mandate in the state.

CMS Energy takes more positive positions on federal-level climate policies. In February 2022, the company signed a joint letter organized by C2ES that advocated to Congressional leadership to pass the clean energy tax credits in the federal Build Back Better Act. In April 2021, CMS subsidiary Consumers Energy signed a joint letter with the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance (CEVA) advocating to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for more ambitious vehicle fuel economy and GHG emissions standards. CMS CEO Patricia Poppe also appeared to argue in favor of federal investments in renewable energy on an October 2020 earnings call.

Positioning on Energy Transition: CMS Energy’s engagement with energy transition policy appears largely focused on protecting the role of fossil gas in the energy mix. In a September 2021 press release by Congressman Dan Kildee and in a November 2021 article by Detroit News, subsidiary Consumers Energy expressed support for the electric vehicle tax credits in the federal Build Back Better Act. Additionally, during the federal infrastructure bill discussions in July 2021, CMS Energy advocated to Congress in a joint C2ES letter in support of net-zero infrastructure investments, and in April 2021, subsidiary Consumers Energy signed a joint letter with CEVA to the EPA and the NHTSA calling for policies toward the decarbonization of the transportation sector. However, as evidenced in its 2021 US Lobbying Disclosure Act reports, CMS Energy has advocated to promote the inclusion of fossil gas in the American Jobs Plan and repeal the proposed phase-out of fossil fuels in federal buildings by 2030. According to the 2021 disclosures, the company has also lobbied to promote the development of the fossil gas vehicle market and protect the interests of the fossil gas industry with respect to tax reform proposals throughout the 2020 Congressional sessions. The reports also reveal CMS Energy’s positions on renewable gases: although the company is supporting a role for “clean” hydrogen and “renewable natural gas” in federal policy, it is unclear specifically what is meant by these terms. InfluenceMap notes that they can be used to describe a range of different energy sources. In an October 2019 earnings call, CEO Patricia Poppe seemed to oppose the idea of a fossil gas ban in the state of Michigan, and on another earnings call in October 2020 appeared to suggest that transitioning from fossil gas in Michigan was not economically or politically feasible.

Industry Association Governance: CMS Energy has a dedicated Political Engagement webpage where it lists its 2020 membership dues to the American Gas Association and the Edison Electric Institute. The company does not describe the groups’ positions on its corporate website, but it does disclose AGA’s position on climate change in its CDP 2020 Climate Change Information Request, writing that its own position is consistent with AGA’s belief that clean energy standards should include fossil gas. The American Gas Association maintains a broadly negative stance toward climate policy which includes protecting the role of fossil fuel infrastructure, including recent lobbying against the proposed methane fee in the Biden administration reconciliation bill, while the Edison Electric Institute demonstrates mixed positions.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.