April 2021


MPSC Spotlight png

This is the MPSC Spotlight - a monthly newsletter from the Michigan Public Service Commission.

This month we introduce a new Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative, explore the MI Propane Security Plan, and recognize Safe Digging Month.

Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative

In the spring of 2020, the MPSC opened Case No. U-20757 to address the Commission's responses to many of the challenges presented by the unfolding COVID pandemic. Primary among the MPSC's efforts was to ensure protections and continued access to energy and telecommunications services for Michigan customers as schools and workplaces closed, and both the public health crisis and impending economic uncertainty loomed large.

On Dec. 15, 2020, MPSC Staff filed a Collaboration and Communication Process report to this docket. The report examined Michigan's complex telecommunications, energy assistance, and customer protections system; reviewed ongoing and recent collaborations addressing COVID-related concerns; and concluded with recommendations of long-term actions for MPSC consideration.

In response to those recommendations, the Commission directed Staff in a Feb. 18, 2021, order to convene a new Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative in coordination with the ongoing Energy Waste Reduction and Low-Income Workgroup. The Collaborative will address the Commission's ongoing COVID-19 response and issues such as affordable payment plans; affordable energy bills; data collection, transparency, and analysis; rule-based protections; and communication and engagement.

The initial meeting of the Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative was held on Apr. 8. The discussion focused on defining the direction, processes, and workplan which will guide the group as it addresses a range of important issues to protect and empower Michigan energy customers. For more information or to sign up for email updates about this Collaborative and its future meetings, please visit our Energy Waste Reduction and Low-Income Workgroup webpage. Staff will file an interim report detailing the Collaborative's progress and any resulting recommendations by Dec. 17, 2021.

MI Propane Security Plan

On Mar. 12, the State of Michigan announced the MI Propane Security Plan to ensure Michigan's energy needs continue to be met regardless of the future of Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline. The five-point plan is the result of a multiagency collaboration involving the Michigan Public Service Commission; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; the Michigan Department of Transportation; and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. It identifies several measures designed to achieve propane security and supply resiliency for Michigan residents including protecting propane customers from price gouging; sending clear signals to encourage market participants to invest in alternative sourcing options; ramping-up state investment in rail and propane storage infrastructure; continued state monitoring of the propane industry and coordination of response to potential disruptions; and setting a long-term path to lower energy costs through investments in energy efficiency and electrification.

The MI Propane Security Plan is the result of the Public Service Commission's recommendations and observations in the 2019 Statewide Energy Assessment (SEA) and the findings of the U.P. Energy Task Force, and it furthers the many state government efforts already in place to help support Michiganders' energy needs now and into the future.

See the full plan

April is Safe Digging Month


Underground utilities are damaged thousands of times each year by individuals who fail to have buried lines marked before beginning excavation projects. Because the arrival of spring heralds the onset of projects that often include digging, the MPSC and Governor Whitmer join MISS DIG 811, the state's underground utility locator, in recognizing April as Safe Digging Month. No matter the size, whether a large construction project, a backyard fence installation, or replacement of a mailbox, anyone planning to dig is urged to call 811 or fill out an online request at www.MISSDIG811.org between three and fourteen business days in advance. The free call will ensure any buried phone, gas, electric, water, sewer, or other underground utilities are clearly marked with flags before digging projects begin.

"Contacting MISS DIG 811 before you dig is easy and free, and it's the law," says Bruce Campbell, CEO of MISS DIG System Inc. "It's a required step to make to help keep you and your neighbors safe and prevent damage to underground utilities."

Check out the MPSC's tip sheet on MISS DIG 811 and safe digging.

Can You Dig It?

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.

Tune in to our next regularly scheduled virtual Commission Meeting on April 21, 2021 at 10:30 AM.

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

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