MPSC lowers monthly surcharge for low-income heating assistance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   July 18, 2019

Contact: Nick Assendelft 517-284-8300
Customer Assistance: 800-292-9555
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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved a 92-cent per meter charge to support the Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund.

The Commission sets the LIEAF funding factor each year based on participation by utilities around the state (Case No. U-17377). The monthly fee is assessed on retail electric billing meters (only one per residential site) in all rate classes and cannot be more than $1. The total amount collected is capped at $50 million annually. Last year’s surcharge was 93 cents.

LIEAF funding is distributed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services through the Michigan Energy Assistance Program. MEAP provided 61,322 households across Michigan, from October 2018 through May 2019, with help toward energy self-sufficiency and with an average of $534 for utility payments.

Customers from these utilities participating in the LIEAF program will see the 92-cent surcharge on their monthly bills starting in September: Consumers Energy Co.; DTE Electric Co.; Indiana Michigan Power Co.; Upper Peninsula Power Co.; Northern States Power Co.; Alpena Power Co.; Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Assn.; Great Lakes Energy Cooperative; Midwest Energy Cooperative; HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative; Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op; Thumb Electric Cooperative; Village of Baraga; Bay City Electric Light and Power; Croswell Light and Power Department; the cities of Crystal Falls, Dowagiac, Gladstone, Norway, Petoskey, and St. Louis; Hart Hydro; Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities; Marshall Electric Department; Negaunee Department of Public Works; Newberry Water and Light Board; Niles Utilities Department; and Union City Electric Department.

Utilities that do not participate in the LIEAF program cannot shut off utility service to a residential customer for nonpayment from Nov. 1 to April 15.


CONSUMERS ENERGY’S DEMAND RESPONSE PROGRAM COSTS RECONCILED

Consumers Energy Co. must include in its demand response reconciliation any capital and operation and maintenance expenses for its DR program from 2015-17 (Case No. U-20164). The Commission’s ruling will ensure accurate accounting of costs associated with the program, which helps customers shift demand during peak times and when prices are high. The MPSC also approved a financial incentive mechanism for Consumers to implement its DR programs.

ALPENA POWER’S INTEGRATED RESOURCE PLAN AGREEMENT OK’D

Alpena Power Co.’s integrated resource plan settlement agreement was approved by the Commission (Case No. U-20300). Alpena will continue to buy electric power from Consumers Energy Co. through 2024 to serve its customers. It will seek bids from power providers to supply energy and capacity beginning in 2025. Alpena will file its next IRP or an amendment to its current plan by Jan. 31, 2024. In an IRP, a utility maps out its long-term strategy on meeting its customers’ power needs. Alpena’s is the second utility IRP to be approved under Public Act 341 of 2016. In June, the Commission approved Consumers Energy’s plan (Case No. U-20165).

CONSUMERS ENERGY’S NATURAL GAS WELL PIPELINE APPLICATION APPROVED

The Commission signed off on the construction of a nearly 1,100-foot natural gas well pipeline at Consumers Energy Co.’s Ira Township natural gas storage field (Case No. U-20568). The 10-inch diameter I-203 Well Line is expected to cost just over $980,000, with work scheduled to begin in 2020. The pipeline’s route does not affect wetlands or surface water, the utility says, and won’t increase customer rates.

RESIDENTS ENERGY CAN BEGIN TO OFFER GAS SERVICE IN MICHIGAN

Residents Energy LLC was granted a license to operate as an alternative natural gas supplier in Michigan (Case No. U-20506). Residents is owned by Genie Retail Energy, whose parent company is headquartered in Newark, N.J. Residents also operates in seven other states.

(For information about Michigan’s natural gas customer choice program, see the MPSC’s CompareMIGas website.)

TWO TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES GRANTED LICENSES

Metro Fibernet LLC’s application for a permanent license to provide basic local exchange service throughout Michigan was approved (Case No. U-20507). Magna5 LLC was granted a temporary license to provide basic local exchange service in areas of the state where Frontier North Inc., Frontier Midstates Inc., and AT&T Michigan operate (Case No. U-20573).

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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