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MPSC seeks additional information on proposed settlement that would create new Michigan-only jurisdictional utility in the Upper Peninsula

Published: Nov. 7, 2016 at 3:08 PM EST
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The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) directed the parties involved in a proposed settlement that would create a new Michigan-only jurisdictional utility in the Upper Peninsula to provide additional information on certain issues on Monday.

On June 14, Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCo) and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS Corp) filed an application for approval of the transfer of WEPCo’s Michigan electric distribution assets and WPS Corp’s Michigan electric and natural gas distribution assets to the Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation, a to-be-formed Michigan jurisdictional regulated utility providing service to electric and natural gas customers only in Michigan. On Oct. 14, all the parties to the contested case filed a settlement agreement proposing to resolve all issues in this matter.

In its order (Case No. U-18061), the MPSC said it is seeking additional information on whether the settlement proposal meets the required statutory elements, based on the record and language of the proposed settlement agreement. The MPSC cited, in particular, sections dealing with whether the proposed action would have an adverse impact on the rates of the customers affected and whether the proposed action would have an adverse impact on the provision of safe, reliable and adequate energy service in Michigan.

The MPSC, therefore, is asking the parties to provide additional information that addresses the Commission’s concerns. The parties have until Nov. 23 to file initial briefs that address the concerns outlined in its order, as well as the merits of the application. Reply briefs are due on Dec. 1. The statutory deadline for this proceeding is Dec. 12.

Additional MPSC actions Monday included:

Case No. U-17677-R: The MPSC approved a settlement agreement authorizing Thumb Electric Cooperative to increase its rates by $977,060. A residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will see an increase of 61 cents on their monthly bills, effective December, 2016.

Case No. U-17875: The MPSC approved a solar distributed generation pilot program for Consumers Energy Company.

The utility on May 8, 2015 filed an application seeking approval of its proposed solar pilot program. The MPSC on June 3, 2015 issued an order directing the utility to submit additional information on the program and also open a public comment period.

In the order issued today, the MPSC approved a modified solar pilot program that will include approximately 100 customers. The pilot program is designed to promote solar distributed generation, gather information relating to customer interest in distributed solar generation and provide interested customers an opportunity to obtain distributed solar generation for their homes or businesses.

Case Nos. U-17936 and U-18013: The MPSC today directed the MPSC staff to convene, by Jan. 30, 2017, a one day technical conference on demand response (DR), including Consumers Energy, DTE Electric, and other interested parties to discuss the already completed potential studies, proposed next steps and to discuss the formation of an advisory council. In addition, the MPSC directed DTE Electric Company (Case No. U-17936) and Consumers Energy Company (Case No. U-18013) to file a 2016 annual report containing certain information on DR by Feb. 1, 2017. Additionally, the large electric utilities will have to file more information on DR deployment every 30 days, beginning Feb. 15, 2017.

DR programs enable customers to better control their energy uses during times of peak demand, such as hot summer days.

Minute Action: The MPSC approved an administrative consent agreement between Consumers Energy Company and the MPSC staff resolving all issues related to the July 11, 2016 letter and notice of probable non-compliance dealing with an explosion and fire that occurred on Sept. 8, 2015 in Montrose. Under the terms of the settlement, the utility will pay $20,000 to the MPSC within 30 days, the maximum amount allowed by law, and will implement certain remedial actions with respect to its gas safety program.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

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