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michigan public service commission

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Consumers Energy says it will retire all of its coal-burning power plants by the year 2025, years ahead of an earlier schedule.

Environmental groups say it's a surprising and highly positive step, but there's still more the utility can do.  

Margrethe Kearney is an analyst with the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

She said the announcement is great news. Coal burning power plants are more expensive to operate than renewable sources of energy, and they spew a lot of harmful chemicals into the air.

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The plan to dig a nearly four-mile tunnel underneath the Straits of Mackinac and replace the Line 5 oil and gas pipelines continues to move forward.

Last week, Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said the plan complies with environmental laws on wetland protection, cultural resources, and wastewater discharge.

But other state and federal agencies still need to weigh in on the project. And one big sticking point is climate change and whether carbon emissions from burning the oil and gas that flow through Line 5 should be a factor in deciding if the tunnel project gets greenlit.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a $188 million dollar rate increase for DTE Energy. The power company had asked for a $351 million dollar rate hike. 

The regulatory agency expressed concerns about DTE’s plans to spend more on coal-burning power plants and several other issues.

DTE Energy / via Twitter

DTE Energy missed the mark with many aspects of its proposed long-term energy plan, according to an administrative law judge’s ruling this week.

Judge Sally Wallace found that some portions of DTE’s Integrated Resource Plan don’t comply with state law. DTE has submitted its required IRP to the Michigan Public Service Commission for approval, laying out how it plans to meet the state’s long-range energy needs.

Consumers Energy / via Michigan Public Service Commission

The Michigan Public Service Commission is demanding Consumers Energy take more action to prevent a possible repeat of a fire last January.

That fire broke out at the utility’s Ray Township compressor station on Jan. 31, during frigid temperatures at the height of the polar vortex.

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

DTE Energy’s proposed rate hike will hit low-income customers the hardest and benefit them the least, according to groups who protested outside a DTE customer service center in Detroit this week.

DTE has a rate case pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

A picture of a digital electricity meter
DTE

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has an early opportunity to influence the direction of energy policy in the state. She'll be able to fill two openings on the Michigan Public Service Commission by July.

As Andy Balaskovitz of Midwest Energy News reported, the three member MPSC helps guide the state's energy policy and decides on utilities' proposals that determine how much we pay for our energy.

Environmental groups oppose DTE's latest rate proposal

Jan 24, 2019
DTE's River Rouge plant
DTE Energy

The Michigan Environmental Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club are speaking out against DTE Energy's most recent rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

"DTE's proposal is unprecedented in the sheer amount of money they're requesting - over $2.8 billion," said Ariana Gonzalez, senior energy policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And we don't feel they've made the case for that amount of money."

Michigan Radio

Until recently, if a home solar array produced more electricity than the house used, it would go through the meter onto the grid. Residents with solar power arrays got paid for that power at the same rate as the power company charged other residents.  Power that comes in/power that goes out: same price. This even exchange is called net metering.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DTE Energy now has the green light to build a billion dollar natural gas power plant in St. Clair County.   But while state regulators approved of the plan, they also made it clear they didn’t like the way the utility behaved during the review process.

High-voltage tower and cables
Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en

Michigan utility companies are saving money because of the new federal tax law. Under state regulations, they have to pass those savings on to customers. At its latest meeting, the Michigan Public Service Commission set a timeline for when those savings will appear.

Commissioner Rachael Eubanks spoke with Michigan Radio’s “Morning Edition” host Doug Tribou. 

utility pole
Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Energy companies in Michigan are likely to receive massive tax cuts thanks to the new federal tax overhaul. That means customers could eventually see lower electric and gas bills.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Public Service Commission acted appropriately when it signed off on a 2015 rate hike for Consumers Energy customers, the Michigan Court of Appeals said in a ruling this week.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and groups representing business and residential Consumers customers sued to overturn the new rates.

They said Consumers didn’t make a strong enough case for the 10.3% rate hike.

Mark Savage / Entergy

The Palisades nuclear power plant will stay open until 2022 after all.

Late last year Entergy, the company that owns the plant, announced that Palisades would shut down early, in the fall of 2018.

Palisades spokesman Val Gent says they told employees Thursday morning, when executives unfurled a big banner that read “2022.”

power lines
Stefan Andrej Shambora / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Michigan Public Service Commission is considering a rule that opponents say would dramatically raise electricity rates for schools, universities and businesses, as well as potentially eliminate competition for Michigan’s two major utilities.

The rule would require electricity providers that compete with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to supply their customers with energy generated within Michigan — instead of from a larger market.

University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan energy is getting greener. 

A state report released Wednesday says all Michigan energy providers met or exceeded a government requirement to supply 10% of energy from renewable sources in 2015. 

The Michigan Public Service Commission wrote the report based on a 2008 law. That law also called for a 12.5% standard by 2019 and a 15% standard by 2021. 

The majority of the energy came from provider investments, while a small part came from banked energy credits bought from consumers with an energy surplus.

State requests power supply plans from utilities

Jan 13, 2017
power plant
user cgord / wikimedia commons

The Michigan Public Service Commission is giving power supply companies three months to report how they will meet electricity demands through 2021.

This announcement marks the third time the MPSC has requested that utilities come up with a five-year plan.

Sally Talberg is a chairman for the Public Service Commission. In a statement, she said that the Commission is responsible for ensuring electric supplies will fit the public's needs.

Says Talberg,

Mark Savage / Entergy

This month the state should get some more information about the expected closure of the Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven.

The Michigan Public Service Commission sent a letter to Consumers Energy last month with a laundry list of questions about the planned closure.

Beach
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Public Service Commission wants answers from Consumers Energy about its plan to end its agreement with Entergy Nuclear Palisades, LLC to buy electricity from the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.

The plan would end the power purchase agreement about four years early and result in the permanent closure of the nuclear plant in October, 2018. 

The Commission is initiating a proceeding to make sure customers' energy needs will still be reliably met.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan regulators have directed their staff to develop rules designed to toughen utilities' defenses against cyberattacks.

  Michigan Public Service Commission Chairwoman Sally Talberg says natural gas and electric providers face attempted intrusions into their computer system on an almost daily basis. She says federal and state governments need to work with utilities to create programs to deal with security issues.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A state commission has ordered Jackson-based Consumers Energy to pay a nearly $516,000 fine over billing rules violations.

The Michigan Public Service Commission announced the fine Thursday. It came about five months after the commission began an investigation into the utility's billing practices in Michigan.

The commission found that Consumers Energy failed to complete meter reads for more than 2,500 customers and determined that the company wasn't properly communicating how much time customers had to pay bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan could face an electricity shortage in the next few years.

New federal regulations are forcing many coal-fired power plants to shut down in 2016.  That will leave utilities with less capacity to generate electricity. The loss will be most noticeable on hot summer days, when demand for electricity soars in Michigan. 

wikimedia commons

Some southeast Michigan cities are preparing to take on the state’s largest utility.

At issue is DTE Energy’s plan to raise rates on municipal LED streetlight installations.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says the number of people generating their own electricity in Michigan and sharing it with others is growing.

This week, the Michigan Public Service Commission released its annual "net metering" report. There’s been an 18% increase in electricity being added to Michigan’s power grid by homeowners, non-profits, and small businesses using their own solar and wind-power generators.

BWL's general manager issued a statement saying the utility has "already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC."
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State utility regulators are the latest to give Lansing’s city electric utility poor marks for how it handled a massive ice storm in December.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says the Lansing Board of Water & Light was not prepared for the Dec. 21 ice storm that knocked out power to about 40,000 BWL customers. Many customers had to wait 10 days or more to get their electricity restored.

The MPSC report echoes the findings of BWL’s own internal review and a panel appointed by Lansing’s mayor. Among other things, the MPSC says BWL needs to improve its tree trimming and communications programs. The public service commission does not regulate BWL, so its findings are little more than recommendations for change.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero asked for the state review. He says the three reports will provide a “road map” for BWL to be a more reliable energy provider.

BWL’s general manager issued a statement saying the utility has “already begun implementing many of the improvements recommended by the MPSC.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State officials say they are processing credits to help low-income customers with their winter energy bills.

The Michigan Public Service Commission said this week that state treasury officials have mailed instruction booklets and forms pertaining to the Michigan Home Heating Credits for the 2013 tax year.

The materials also are available online and at many libraries, post offices and Department of Human Services' branch offices.

The average credit for last year was $124.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor wants an independent review of how the city’s utility handled a major power outage last month.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light has been criticized for the long wait many of its customers had before their electricity was restored after the Dec. 22 ice storm. About 40% of BWL’s customers lost power after the storm. Many had to wait for more than a week to have their lights turned back on.

Consumers Energy

State regulators are going to spend the next few months assessing how well Consumers Energy and DTE responded to a massive power outage after an ice storm last month.

It’s estimated 626,000 DTE and Consumers Energy customers lost power after the Dec. 22 ice storm.  

It was New Year’s Eve by the time the utilities restored power to most of its customers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some Michigan residents saw lower heating bills this winter because of reduced natural gas prices and milder temperatures.

The Michigan Public Service Commission announced Friday that households that use natural gas for heating received lower heating bills. Nearly 80 percent of all Michigan households use natural gas to heat their homes.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A new report finds that most of Michigan's electricity providers are on pace to generate 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015.

The Michigan Public Service Commission's annual renewable energy report released Friday finds the use of wind, the sun and other renewables was expected to have reached 4.7 percent last year. The estimate was 4.4 percent in 2011 - up from 3.6 percent the previous year.

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