MPSC releases annual electric choice, video franchise reports

Contact: Nick Assendelft
517-284-8300 (office)
517-388-3135 (cell)
Customer Support: 800-292-9555

www.michigan.gov/energy

Feb 1, 2018

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today released its annual reports on electric customer choice and video services competition in Michigan. Both reports are required to be filed to the Legislature by Feb. 1.

In its Status of Electric Competition in Michigan report for 2017, the Commission noted its work to implement new energy laws. Based on Legislative direction, the MPSC adopted procedures regarding the allocation of the amount of electric load to be served by alternative electric suppliers (AES), which provide electricity to customers in the choice program, and rulings implementing new capacity demonstration and state reliability mechanism provisions to help ensure reliable service for all electric customers.

Electric customer choice is available to customers of regulated electric utilities in Michigan, excluding members of cooperatives with loads of less than one megawatt (MW). An electric choice customer buys electricity from an AES instead of the local utility serving the area.

In its Status of Competition for Video Services in Michigan report for 2017, the MPSC recommended that the Legislature require companies to provide more detailed contact information to make it easier to resolve complaints and collect report data, and to notify the Commission as well as the franchising entity if a company changes names, goes out of business, or merges with another company.

Highlights of the 18th annual Status of Electric Competition in Michigan report:

  • Public Act 286 of 2008 provides that no more than 10 percent of an electric utility’s average weather-adjusted retail sales for the preceding calendar year may take service from an AES at any time.

  • As of December, there were approximately 5,929 customers participating in electric choice programs, down from 6,060 in 2016. This represents approximately 1,962 megawatts of electric demand, a decrease of about 16 megawatts from the previous year. About 7,039 customers have indicated a desire to join the electric choice program.

  • Commercial and industrial customers accounted for almost all the participation in electric choice programs. The number of residential customers is negligible.

  • There are 25 licensed AESs and 12 serve customers. The Commission did not issue any new licenses in 2017 and no AESs requested voluntary relinquishment of their licenses or had their license revoked.

  • AESs serve electric choice customers in the Consumers Energy Co., DTE Electric Co., Upper Peninsula Power Co., Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., and Cloverland Electric Cooperative territories.

  • Information pertaining to the status of electric choice participation for each utility can be found at their respective websites.

Highlights of the 10th annual Status of Competition for Video Services report:

  • There are 38 cable providers serving more than 2 million video and cable customers. The number of subscribers is down by nearly 131,000 from 2016, and is at the lowest level in five years.

  • The Commission received 860 video/cable customer complaints and inquiries in 2017, down from 2013, 2014 and 2015. The most common complaints were false, misleading or deceptive information, billing charges, or cable line issues.

  • Providers continue to report more competition in their franchise areas since the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act took effect.

  • Providers reported investing over $1.1 billion in Michigan since the franchise act was enacted.

  • The MPSC continues to educate and inform customers of the dispute resolution process that is part of the franchise act, and will continue to monitor complaints that can be filed with the Commission by mail, phone or online regarding video and cable services.

  • The Commission’s video franchise webpage provides a link to cable providers, an interactive broadband map, the dispute resolution process and complaint form, and consumer tips.

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.

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