Operations & Wholesale Markets
Brian Ballinger, Director
The Operations & Wholesale Markets Division provides the Commission with technical expertise and recommendations on electric and natural gas operations necessary to ensure that these regulated services are provided in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner at reasonable rates. The division is also responsible for electric and gas distribution infrastructure in assuring such energy services are adequate, safe, and reliable for all Michigan customers. Three sections comprise the Operations and Wholesale Markets Division: Electric Operations, Gas Operations, and Smart Grid.
The Electric Operations Section is responsible for reviewing electric distribution operation, maintenance and capital expenditures in utility rate filings and monitoring the performance of electric utilities in providing safe, reliable, and good quality power service to jurisdictional electric utility customers through the Technical Standards for Electric Service R 460.3101 et al and Service Quality and Reliability Standards for electric distribution systems per Administrative Rule 460.701 et al. Annual reliability and power quality performance reports can be found in the following dockets (U-16065 (DTE Electric), U-16066 (Consumers Energy), U-12270 (Other IOU’s). The Electric Operations Section administers rules regarding services supplied by electric utilities to Michigan customers such as: underground electric lines, extension of electric service, electric distribution reliability standards and service quality, enforcement of the National Electrical Safety Code, pole attachments, electric customer complaints, meter testing and animal stray voltage contacts.
The Gas Operations Section maintains responsibility for monitoring the distribution, production, transmission, and underground storage of natural gas in the state of Michigan. That review includes utility rate applications for operation, maintenance and capital expenditures for natural gas infrastructure, Public Act 69 of 1929 certificates of need and necessity, Public Act 9 of 1929 siting for natural gas, and Public Act 16 of 1929 siting for liquid pipelines. It also includes performance of gas pipeline safety inspections for all gas jurisdictional pipeline operators for both interstate and intrastate pipelines, per requirements of Michigan Gas Safety Standards, Public Act 165 of 1969, and US Department of Transportation requirements under Title 49 of the United States Code, Part 192, and enforcement of underground facility damage prevention, per requirements of Public Act 174 of 2013 (MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act). The Gas Operations Section Pipeline Safety Program works as a liaison with the federal pipeline safety officials to enforce gas safety standards and performs gas safety inspections.
The Smart Grid Section is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the reasonableness and prudence of utility proposals for smart grid projects, including advanced meters, dynamic rate structures, load control, information technology, cybersecurity and distribution system applications. Smart Grid Section staff members perform research and serve as liaisons to utilities and other stakeholders for enabled technology issues including advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) functionality, interoperability standards, intersection of AMI and operation management systems, variable rate pricing and pre-pay programs enabled by AMI, electric vehicles, and distributed energy resource integration on to the grid.
Contact the Operations & Wholesale Markets Division @ 517-284-8220
Fax: @ 517-284-8229