Energy Programs and Technology Pilots

MI Power Grid Customer Engagement Stamp

Notice: MI Power Grid meetings and all other MPSC workgroup meetings will be conducted via teleconference only until further notice. Please find remote access information for upcoming meetings on our calendar of events. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Utility companies use pilot projects to test new or experimental ideas. This helps utilities, stakeholders, and the MPSC learn what may work on a larger scale, as well as where to improve. Past pilot projects have involved energy waste reduction, electric vehicles, advanced metering infrastructure, and rates that vary based on when electricity is used. Having a standard process to evaluate pilot projects can help the MPSC and stakeholders decide whether expanding these programs is beneficial to customers.

Actions to Date

On October 29, 2020, Commission order for Case No. U-20645 provided direction regarding Staff’s recommendations from the final Staff report.

First, the order clarified the Commission’s vision for future pilot programs.  Future pilot programs should strive to meet the MI Power Grid goals to engage utility customers and other stakeholders to help integrate new clean energy technologies and optimize grid investments for reliable, affordable electricity service.  Future pilot programs should also be cohesive with the Commission’s mission to protect the public by ensuring safe, reliable, and accessible energy and telecommunications services at reasonable rates for Michigan’s residents.

Second, the Commission will adopt a definition for the term “pilot” and implement objective criteria for evaluating pilot program proposals for both gas and electric utilities.  Prior to adoption, the Commission requests stakeholders (including natural gas utilities and others that may not have participated in the workgroup) to file comments on Staff’s proposed definition and objective criteria presented in Exhibit A of the order.

Third, the order directed Staff to develop an online Michigan Pilot Directory to increase transparency and information sharing.

Lastly, instead of developing a new pilot review process, the order reaffirms currently available processes to review and approve pilot programs.  These include ex parte proceedings and the energy waste reduction EWR plan proceedings which afford additional discretion and flexibility. However, the Commission is open to future proposals regarding potential new pilot program review procedures.

MPSC has approved previous pilot projects, including:

  • Energy Waste Reduction
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Microgrids
  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure
  • Time-of-use Rates
  • Non-wires Alternatives

Next Steps

Per the Commission order for Case No. U-20645:

  • Stakeholder comment is requested for Staff’s proposed “pilot” definition and objective criteria for reviewing utilities’ pilot projects.  All comments must be filed with the Commission no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on December 11, 2020.  See the order for details on how to submit comments.
  • Utilities are encouraged to work with MPSC staff on the development of an online Michigan Pilot Directory in the first half of 2021.

Staff will continue to communicate with utilities and other stakeholders regarding pilot related issues, including deadline reminders and updates.

Staff Report Timeline

  • July 31, 2020:                   Draft report released to stakeholders
    Draft Staff Report




Stakeholder Sessions


Agenda | Presentations | Recording


Agenda | Presentations | Recording


Agenda | Presentations | Recording


Agenda | Presentations | Recording


Agenda | Presentations | Recording


Agenda | Presentations | Recording

March 19, 2020

This meeting has been postponed

February 27, 2020

Agenda | Presentations | Recording

Staff Lead

Joy Wang

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