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Electric distribution system infrastructure is aging, which can lead to frequent and long-lasting power outages, and can cause unsafe conditions for the public. Utility spending on improving the electric grid is growing. As technology improves and costs decline, customers and developers are increasingly interested in connecting their projects to the utility system. Distribution system plans provide stakeholders and the MPSC information about planned utility investments and allow for customer preferences to be considered as investments are made.
On August 20, 2020, in an order in the U-20147 docket, the MPSC provided further direction for utilities regarding the next filing of their electric distribution plans. The Commission ordered DTE Electric Co., Consumers Energy Co., and Indiana Michigan Power Co. to file second iterations of their distribution investment and maintenance plans by Sept. 30, 2021, with draft plans shared with stakeholders and Commission Staff by Aug. 1, 2021. (The filing date for the draft and final plans supersede the previous deadline established by the MPSC for June 30, 2021.)
The MPSC previously directed DTE Electric, Consumers Energy, and Indiana Michigan Power Company (through rate case Orders as linked below), to develop and submit five-year distribution investment and maintenance plans. The intent of this directive was to increase visibility into utility distribution system needs and facilitate a comprehensive review of long-term distribution planning by the Commission, MPSC Staff, and other interested parties, with more transparency than one-year outlooks in contested rate case proceedings.
Continued stakeholder activity took place in 2019 from June through November. Utility representatives, subject matter experts, Commission staff and other interested stakeholders participated in the stakeholder process. These stakeholder sessions featured discussions about distribution planning topics and examined issues raised in case U-20147 as well as value of resilience in relation to proposed investments.
Per the MPSC order in U-20147 issued on August 20, 2020, DTE Electric Co., Consumers Energy Co., and Indiana Michigan Power Co. will file second iterations of their distribution investment and maintenance plans by Sept. 30, 2021, with draft plans shared with stakeholders and Commission Staff by Aug. 1, 2021.
Stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the utilities’ draft plans following the Aug. 1, 2021 docket filings.
As outlined in the August 20, 2020 order, the Staff will continue to communicate with utilities and stakeholders about key electric distribution planning issues including:
December 16, 2019: Additional comments due from stakeholders for inclusion in staff report
February 19, 2020: Deadline for draft staff report
Draft Staff Report
March 5, 2020: Deadline for stakeholder comments on draft staff report due
Consumers Energy Comments
ELPC and Vote Solar Comments
Indiana Michigan Comments
Michigan EIBC and AEE Comments
April 1, 2020: Final staff report deadline
Final Staff Report
On April 12, 2018, in Case No. U-20147, the MPSC issued an order requiring DTE Electric and Consumers Energy to file their final distribution plans in that docket, asked for Staff and stakeholder comments on the final plan to be filed in the same docket, and required Staff to set up a technical conference to review comments. This technical conference took place on August 7, 2018. In a November 2018 order, the Commission addressed the Staff's September 1, 2018, recommendations and provided other guidance on the next round of distribution plans which are scheduled for the second quarter 2020. Staff will continue to engage stakeholders on these topics.
Additionally, the MPSC ordered Indiana Michigan Power to submit a draft five-year distribution plan by October 31, 2018 and a final plan by May 1, 2019. Comments on this plan were submitted in the U-20147 docket.
All comments throughout the process along with final distribution plans and Staff reports are available for review in the docket of Case No. U-20147.