Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 11, 2019
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission today released its final Statewide Energy Assessment to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, outlining a number of immediate steps the Commission and its Staff will take to ensure that Michigan’s systems for supplying and distributing energy to homes and businesses become more resilient and able to withstand weather extremes, aging infrastructure and other challenges ahead.
The final report, which took into account public input from a variety of stakeholders, found that Michigan’s energy systems are adequate to meet customer needs. But there are significant ways that regulated utility companies, the MPSC, policymakers and others can work to strengthen and improve them. The final 220-page report makes 37 recommendations for the MPSC to improve the state’s energy systems, along with 15 observations outside of the MPSC’s regulatory jurisdiction.
The report caps a process that began last winter when Gov. Whitmer asked the Commission to evaluate the state’s energy systems after a statewide energy emergency was declared Jan. 30-31 while a polar vortex cold snap enveloped Michigan.
During that period, a fire at a Consumers Energy compressor station in Macomb County’s Ray Township threatened to disrupt the delivery of natural gas in the state. At the same time, the regional electric grid operator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, declared an electric emergency affecting Michigan and 14 other states, requiring all power generation to operate at maximum capacity.
Gov. Whitmer asked the MPSC to determine whether the design of Michigan’s electric, natural gas and propane systems are adequate to handle operational problems, extreme weather events and other changing conditions, and to recommend ways to reduce risks.
“I’m committed to making sure that Michigan is prepared in the face of energy emergencies. That means ensuring we have a reliable, affordable and clean energy supply to keep our economy moving and keep families safe,” Whitmer said. “The Statewide Energy Assessment shows that we have sufficient and unique assets that help ensure reliable supply and delivery of energy to help meet demand, but we have more work to do. We must improve our infrastructure and establish more diverse sources of energy supplies for Michiganders. These actions will help Michigan be more prepared in the case of any emergency event.”
“The Commission Staff spent months deeply examining whether Michigan’s utility customers would be able to receive the reliable energy they expect, even during unexpected system failures and an increasing number of unusually severe weather events,” said MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg. “Our energy network is strong, but the report identifies areas in which it would be made more secure, reliable, and resilient through improved planning and analysis, coordination, and stronger communication. And we’re acting right away to begin those improvements.”
Making immediate moves, the Commission:
In addition, Governor Whitmer and Chairman Talberg sent letters to the CEOs of regional transmission organizations serving Michigan, Midcontinent Independent System Operator and PJM Interconnection LLC, identifying recommended enhancements to transmission planning and wholesale market rules to improve electric reliability and resiliency based on the report’s findings.
The Commission’s report focused on five categories: electric, natural gas, propane, cyber and physical security, and energy emergency management. The commission considered comments from numerous stakeholders on a draft released in early July.
The report is available on the Commission’s docket in Case No. U-20464 at www.michigan.gov/mpsc under E-Dockets.
The assessment found that Michigan’s energy systems are able to provide reliable supply and delivery at peak demand, and that market forces and regulatory oversight ensure utility companies are making needed investments in supply and delivery.
But there remain risks that can disrupt the system, including security threats, abnormal weather, changing electricity supplies and other factors. While systemwide risks of major emergencies remain low, these events have significant impact on the well being of Michiganders and the state’s economy.
To strengthen Michigan’s energy delivery systems and reduce risks, the report’s recommendations include:
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.
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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