MPSC seeks input on electric vehicle pilot programs, approves refund for Consumers Energy electric customers

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is seeking input on developing pilot programs related to plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) deployment and the infrastructure needed to meet growing user demand.

The Commission is committed to developing electrification programs within the PEV industry by addressing regulatory issues within its authority. Seeking input from various stakeholders (Case No. U-18368) will help the Commission with implementing decisions.

Pilot programs will be helpful to answer questions around rate design (encouraging charging at off-peak times with lower rates), impact on the electrical grid (location of chargers, utility deployment of charging infrastructure), customer education (direct from utility or working through vehicle dealers), and the role of the utility in infrastructure deployment/cost recovery (cost-benefit analysis, customer benefits, cost recovery from customers).

The Commission expects that utilities, automobile manufacturers, environment groups, clean air organizations, transportation consultants and charging equipment companies will contribute to the potential pilot programs.

The key topics to be addressed were developed by stakeholders at an August technical conference and individual meetings, which furthered the Commission’s understanding of PEV trends and the market barriers that might discourage the purchase of an alternative-fuel vehicle, such as range anxiety, the concern that chargers won’t be available before a vehicle’s batteries run low.

Written or electronic comments about targeted pilot programs and related PEV deployment issues must be submitted by 5 p.m. Nov. 17.  Send written comments to Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909. Electronic comments or letters may be e-mailed to mpscedockets@michigan.gov. All comments should reference Case No. U-18368. 

For podcasts from August’s PEV and CNG vehicle technical conference, click here.

 

Consumers’ electric customers to see one-time refund

In a settlement agreement in Case No. U-18381, the Commission today approved refunds from Consumers Energy in December averaging $3.45 per residential customer.

Under a provision in Michigan law, a utility can self-implement new rates before a decision by the MPSC on whether to approve all or a portion of the requested increase.

Consumers had collected $16,691,000 more (including interest) than what was ultimately approved by the Commission in February (Case No. U-17990). Consumers had sought a $170 million electric rate increase, but the Commission approved $113.3 million.

Other MPSC decisions:

Telecom licenses awarded: Two telecommunications companies were granted permanent licenses to provide basic local exchange service. Level 3 Communications LLC was approved to serve customers in Frontier Midstates Inc. and CenturyLink (Case No. U-18442) territories, while Climax Telephone Co. (CTS Telecommunications) was OK’d to operate in exchanges served by AT&T Michigan, Frontier North Inc. and Frontier Midstates (Case No U-18438).

Meter reading waiver extended: The Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCo) was granted another waiver of the monthly residential and non-residential meter reading requirement (Case No. U-18455). UPPCo is allowed to read gas and electric meters one month and estimate usage the following month. UPPCo said having meters checked by a meter reader every month would add nearly $1 million to its costs annually. The waiver approved today extends to Nov. 1, 2018, instead of Nov. 1, 2019, which the utility had requested. In response to complaints by some customers, the Commission staff will review UPPCo’s estimated billing practices to ensure accuracy and submit a report to the MPSC in 90 days.

Detroit Public Lighting customers move to DTE: DTE Electric Co. is approved to collect $30,445,479 under a transitional reconciliation mechanism surcharge associated with customers of the City of Detroit Public Lighting System being transferred to DTE Electric (Case No. U-18251). Residential customers using 500 kWh of electricity per month will see an increase of 65 cents on their monthly bills from November 2017 through April 2018.  

Consumers revenue decoupling mechanism: Consumers Energy Co. customers will see a one-month adjustment on their gas bills as part of a revenue decoupling mechanism revenues in the amount of $629,370 (Case No. U-18367). Revenue decoupling disconnects a utility’s profits from its gas sales volume, allowing it to focus on energy waste reduction efforts, which could result in lower sales. Residential customers will receive a 52-cent credit on their November bills. The period in the settlement agreement is from Jan. 1-28, 2017, when Consumers implemented new gas rates.

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.

DISCLAIMER: This document was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify or supplement the Commission’s written orders.  The Commission exercises its authority with all commissioners participating equally in decision-making, pursuant to its written orders.

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