November 2020

MPSC Spotlight

MPSC Chair Dan ScrippsWelcome! A message from the Chair:
This is the first edition of the MPSC Spotlight - a new monthly newsletter from the Michigan Public Service Commission. There has been a lot of work happening at the MPSC to tackle trending energy and telecommunications issues from all angles, and we hope this newsletter helps to increase transparency and keep the public up to date on current MPSC news, meetings, reminders, and how our decisions impact the state of Michigan. We are happy you're here!

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Utility Scam Awareness

November 16th marks the start of Utility Scam Awareness Week for 2020 and the MPSC wants utility customers to be on alert that complaints about utility scams are on the rise. Customers should know that utility companies will not contact customers by phone with coercive tactics such as demanding immediate payment to keep services from being shut off in a matter of hours. That kind of behavior is a red flag that the caller is trying to scam you or someone you know. Utility companies also do not:

Scam Alert

 
  • Collect payment at customers' homes or businesses;
  • Ask for social security numbers, bank account, or credit card information by phone; or
  • Use coercive tactics to try to get into your home.

Be on alert, ask questions, always request identification, and never give out personal information to someone you do not know. Learn more about how to avoid utility scams.


Remote Work

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MPSC became one of the first State of Michigan agencies to move exclusively to telework. The MPSC's main office building in Lansing has been closed to the public since March 20, 2020. Since that time, the Commission has been working hard to continue its essential functions and ensure that stakeholders and the public have the ability to participate in MPSC proceedings including stakeholder meetings and workgroups, Commission meetings, public hearings, and administrative hearings. Planning for our return to in-person work is underway but the MPSC expects to continue operations and regulatory functions in a remote environment at least through the end of the year.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we continue to take steps to mitigate issues related to the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to effectively serve the people of Michigan.


MI Power Grid Update

MI Power Grid emblemLast month, the MPSC released the year-one status report on its MI Power Grid initiative launched in partnership with Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the fall of 2019. This initiative is a multi-year effort to help guide Michigan residents and businesses through the ongoing transition to cleaner more distributed energy.

In its first year, MPSC Staff and hundreds of stakeholders have held over 30 stakeholder meetings that have resulted in five reports with recommendations for Commission consideration. Here are the major milestones that have been reached:

  • Updated expectations for the next round of electric utility distribution system investment plans;
  • Identified objective criteria by which energy program and technology pilots can be evaluated;
  • Implemented improvements for utility demand response programs; and
  • Proposed solutions to account for gaps identified in existing service quality and reliability rules for electric service, with formal rulemaking updates to follow.

In addition, work is underway to streamline standards governing the process to interconnect customer and third party-owned resources to the utility grid, consider ways to facilitate competitive procurement of energy resources, better align the various utility planning processes, develop an online database of past and ongoing energy pilots, and update our regulatory framework involving new technologies and business models.

We encourage anyone interested in participating, or learning more about MI Power Grid to visit our website at www.michigan.gov/MIPowerGrid.


Have a utility complaint, or need help with your utility service? We're here to help. Submit your complaint or inquiry online or call 800-292-9555.


Be sure to tune in to our next regularly scheduled virtual Commission Meeting on November 19, 2020 at 1:30 PM.


The mission of the Michigan Public Service Commission is to protect the public by ensuring safe, reliable, and accessible energy and telecommunications services at reasonable rates for Michigan's residents.


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