JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Consumers Energy wants to explore the possible sale of its 13 hydroelectric dams as the Michigan utility evaluates their future and cost efficiency.

The Jackson-based utility also said Wednesday in a release that it is considering all options to safely maintain the dam reservoirs — lakes created by the dams that provide economic and recreational opportunities for communities.

Those reservoirs are popular with anglers and boaters, but Consumers said they can be more expensive.

“We also know that the current model for financing our hydroelectric power operations requires customers to pay more than nine times for the cost of energy compared to other sources of generation,” Consumers Energy’s Vice President of Generation Operations Norm Kapala said in a release.

Consumers said the aging structures need maintenance and capital investments to ensure safety and prevent dam failure.

Licenses for the company’s dams begin to expire in 11 years. Altogether, the dams produce less than 1% of the energy used by its customers, Consumers Energy said.

“Our goal through the entire hydro strategy process is to really find this solution that keeps our rates affordable for our customers and, if possible, keep the reservoirs that we know have huge community and recreational impact across our state,” Kapala said.

Consumers is now evaluating four options for the 13 river dams: continuing their license for 50 years, selling the dams, decommissioning the river to its natural state or creating a low-head dam with a downstream flow to prevent invasive species.

“The initial RFP (request for proposal) will be for sale of all 13 river hydros to one owner, but we will take alternative options proposed by a potential buyer,” Adam Monroe, executive director of hydro operations for Consumers Energy, said.

“Really, we want to maintain safe operation of the facility. We want a solution that helps us to maintain our goal of affordable rates and maintains the reservoirs for the communities that we serve,” Kapala said.

The utility, which provides natural gas and electricity to customers in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, said it held a series of public meetings last year on the future of its dams.

More meetings are expected later this summer: Consumers plans to host several community engagement meetings for public feedback and will continue to accept offers and proposals from buyers.

“After the RFP, there is a lot to do with due diligence and evaluation of the bidders,” Kapala said.

With four options being considered, no decision has been made yet.

The first community engagement meeting about the Calkin Bridge Dam will be Aug. 29 at Allegan High School. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the public meeting will start at 6 p.m.