Michigan Public Service Commission technical conference in August will study impact of alternative fuel vehicles on state's utility infrastructure

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today announced an August technical conference to study future regulatory and infrastructure issues as demand grows for electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.

The conference on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, will address the potential and challenges of public and private charging stations statewide. Topics will also include what’s needed at residences and businesses so vehicle users are able to access alternative fuels.

“With the increased use of alternative fuel vehicles, we want to ensure Michigan’s regulatory framework for electric and natural gas utilities can adapt to the quickly evolving technology landscape,” said Sally Talberg, Commission chairman. “The MPSC seeks to explore with stakeholders the potential impacts that alternative fuel vehicles may have on regulated utility infrastructure and investment strategies.”

Held in conjunction with the Michigan Agency for Energy and the National Governor’s Association, the one-day technical conference (Case No. U-18368) is expected to help the Commission formulate a work plan to provide guidance for Michigan’s electric vehicle charging and CNG fueling networks.

“Michigan is the car state,” said Norm Saari, MPSC commissioner. “We know that auto manufacturers, suppliers, drivers, environmentalists and other interests join the utilities in looking at what role EVs and CNG-fueled vehicles will play in the future of mobility and transportation.”

Three panels of subject matter experts will examine current and future electric charging technology, what role utilities will play in setting up electric charging and CNG fueling stations, and what the MPSC’s role will be in examining potential investments by regulated utilities in relation to alternative fuel vehicles. MPSC commissioners expect the technical conference will clarify what the impact of investments by utilities in alternative fuel networks will be on ratepayers.

Among the stakeholders expected to attend are representatives from the utility sector, auto companies, charging equipment suppliers, transportation planners, vendors, technical experts, and other state agencies.

The conference, which will be open to the public, is scheduled for the first week of August at the MPSC’s offices at 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing. Those interested in participating on a panel should submit a letter of interest, resume, and summary of area of expertise to Al Freeman at the address above or by email to freemana5@michigan.gov.

The Commission is also seeking public comments on electric vehicle charging sites or the use of CNG in vehicles. Comments and letters must be received by 5 p.m. July 31, 2017, and can be sent to Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909 or emailed to mpscedockets@michigan.gov. Please include the case number in any correspondence.

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.