Michigan's natural gas industry includes utilities (with Customer Choice), production, transmission pipelines, and underground storage. Michigan's extensive natural gas network extends beyond the local utility distribution systems (which are used to serve utility customers and alternative gas supplier customers Customer Choice Programs).
It represents every sector of the natural gas industry, from natural-gas producing reservoirs and their related production equipment, to the cross-country transmission pipelines that bring gas to market, to the underground storage reservoirs that help manage the seasonal swings in market demand.
The Michigan Public Service Commission addresses natural gas issues facing Michigan through its orders. The results appear in utility rate books. The Commission Staff provides the Commission with advice and technical assistance by conducting various types of inspections, engineering studies and utility audits under state laws and rules and federal laws and rules. The Staff also analyzes rate and tariff information, assesses gas cost and reliability issues, responds to consumer inquiries and complaints regarding billings and services and evaluates emerging trends within the natural gas industry and regulatory environment. These activities are designed to ensure that:
- natural gas is produced efficiently,
- all natural gas is transported in a safe manner,
- utility monopoly services are provided at fair and reasonable rates, and
- in competitive environments, regulation relies on market forces and customer choice.
The results meet natural gas utility and customer needs, enhance economic development and strengthen Michigan's competitive environment to meet the Commission's Missions and Goals.
Approximately 20% of the natural gas consumed in Michigan is produced within the state and six interstate pipeline companies that have access to the major natural gas producing regions in North America import the remaining 80%. Michigan cycles more natural gas through its storage system than any other state. Eleven utilities provide natural gas service to approximately 3.3 million customers who consume over 760 billion cubic feet (21.5 billion cubic meters) of natural gas per year.