MPSC orders $333 million returned to DTE Gas customers from lower federal corporate tax

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   August 20, 2019

Contact: Matt Helms 517-284-8300
Customer Assistance: 800-292-9555
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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved monthly decreases for DTE Gas Co. customers to reflect the impact lower federal corporate tax rates have on the company’s long-term investments.

A total of $333 million will be returned to customers, or $12.7 million annually. A residential customer who uses 10,000 cubic feet of natural gas a month will receive a 58-cent monthly credit on their bill beginning in September (Case No. U-20298).

“The Commission has been a strong advocate for utility ratepayer savings ever since the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect,” MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg said. “Our Staff continues its important lead role in making sure every dollar of savings from the tax law changes is passed on to ratepayers in a timely manner.”

This is the third round of bill adjustments as a result of the TCJA, which lowered corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent. After the law was enacted in December 2017, the MPSC swiftly ordered investor-owned utilities (DTE, Consumers Energy Co., Indiana Michigan Power Co., Alpena Power Co., Upper Peninsula Power Co., Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., Northern States Power Co., SEMCO Energy Gas Co., and Michigan Gas Utility Corp.) to calculate their tax savings and it set forth a multi-step process to pass on to ratepayers the immediate and long-term savings under the new law.

This final step known as Calculation C, captures long-term impacts of the change. The monthly rate adjustments will be in effect until the next time a utility implements new rates, which will be calculated using the 21 percent tax. In the first round of refunds, known as Credit A, the Commission approved approximately $380 million in credits for Michigan utility customers. In the second round, known as Credit B, the MPSC approved roughly $232 million in refunds.

The Commission approved Credit A refunds of $2.12 a month for DTE Gas residential customers in May 2018 and Credit B refunds of $2.21 a month in October 2018.


$500 FINE FOR EXCAVATION COMPANY FOLLOWING GAS LINE DAMAGE

McLean Transport LLC was fined $500 for violating the MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act (Case No. U-20520). Commission Staff determined McLean failed to use caution around a marked, underground Consumer Energy Co. natural gas main in Grand Ledge as a backhoe removed a large concrete slab. The 3/4-inch steel service line subsequently was damaged. McLean failed to appear at two hearings or file requested documents regarding the incident. The company has 30 days to pay the fine. It also must discuss with the Commission Staff a plan for worker training. If McLean fails to do either, it could face a penalty of up to $5,000. The MISS DIG Act of 2013 requires anyone planning an excavation project to call MISS DIG 811 to have underground utility lines marked before starting any work. Hand digging should be used in marked areas to avoid the buried infrastructure.

HEART OF WEST MICHIGAN TO ANSWER 2-1-1 CALLS FOR 7 MORE COUNTIES

The Heart of West Michigan United Way has been designated as the 2-1-1 community resource information and referral answering point for 27 exchanges in Ionia and Montcalm counties (Case No. U-20460). The exchanges were transferred from the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region call center. Heart of West Michigan will also assume responsibility for 30 exchanges transferred from Community Access Line of the Lake Shore, Inc. in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties (Case No. U-20461). The 2-1-1 services will be operational 24 hours a day, every day.

DTE TO ASSESS 3-MONTH CHARGE FOR DETROIT LIGHTING TRANSITION

DTE Electric will assess a three-month surcharge on customer bills to recover continuing costs associated with transfer of the former City of Detroit Public Lighting Department customers to DTE (Case No. U-20364). In a settlement agreement, the Commission approved a transitional reconciliation mechanism surcharge of 0.103 cents per kilowatt hour. A residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity will pay 52 cents on their October, November, and December bills to cover 2018 system transition costs.

To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the E-Dockets filing system here.

To watch a livestream of the MPSC’s meetings, click here.

For information about the MPSC, visit www.Michigan.gov/MPSC, sign up for one of its listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter.

DISCLAIMER: This document was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify, supplement, or be a substitute for the Commission’s orders. The Commission’s orders are the official action of the Commission.

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