MPSC sets deadline for Consumers Energy, DTE Energy to file updated electric grid distribution plans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Nov. 21, 2018

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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today identified the next steps in developing a vision for the future of utility electrical grids in Michigan that also integrate new industry technologies and plan for the impact of electric vehicles.

Through an open and transparent process, the MPSC considered public input on long-term distribution plans for Consumers Energy Co. and DTE Energy Co., including the current state of infrastructure, future investment needs to modernize the grid, and priorities for performing upgrades (Case No. U-20147).

Part of the discussions are also to focus on “non-wires” alternatives, including energy waste reduction, shifting customer demand away from peak periods, and using solar and/or energy storage to relieve constraints on the electrical grid. 

“With the need to modernize electric infrastructure, increase electric reliability, and integrate new energy technologies, the Commission is providing guidance to DTE Energy and Consumers Energy on their next round of long-term electric distribution plans,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “This planning process will improve transparency and stakeholder involvement in utility planning and help ensure the right investments are made to benefit customers. We are excited to see this effort taken to the next level as utilities examine how best to integrate technologies such as electric vehicles, rooftop solar, and battery storage.”

The Commission directed Consumers and DTE to file their next round of distribution plans, with stakeholder input, no later than mid-2020. The plans should include a progress report on the core goals of safety, reliability, and resiliency. Among other guidance, the Commission directed the utilities to consider cost-benefit methodologies and pilot applications for evaluating non-wires alternatives.

The distribution planning examination will allow the MPSC to comprehensively evaluate investments beyond the 12-month snapshot of time provided in rate cases as well as identify “no-regrets” grid investments that are adaptable to a changing energy landscape in Michigan.

Consumers and DTE filed their first five-year distribution investment and maintenance plans earlier this year, which was followed by a stakeholder technical conference in August.

Finally, the Commission opened up a comment period for Indiana Michigan Power Co.’s five-year distribution plan. Initial comments must be filed in the case docket for U-20147 by 5 p.m. Dec. 21 with reply comments to be filed by 5 p.m. Jan. 11, 2019. Written comments should be sent to Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909. Electronic comments may be e-mailed to mpscedockets@michigan.gov. All comments should include the case number.

To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the eDockets 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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