Settlements expanding energy waste reduction programs for Michigan customers approved by MPSC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   March 5, 2020

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The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved settlements that aim to expand the benefits of energy waste reduction (EWR) for customers with an increased focus on affordability for low-income utility customers.

The settlements involve Consumers Energy Co. (Case No. U-20372) and DTE Electric Co. (Case No. U-20373). The Commission approved a partial settlement in the EWR case of DTE Gas Co. (Case No. U-20429).

EWR encompasses a broad range of efforts to cut waste, improve efficiency and reduce energy use to save utility costs for customers and make energy more affordable. According to the MPSC’s most recent report on EWR programs, EWR efforts saved nearly 1.5 million megawatt hours of electricity and 5 million cubic feet of natural gas in 2018. The report estimates that for every dollar spent on EWR initiatives, customers realize savings of $3.18.

Highlights of the settlements include:

  • For Consumers Energy customers, enhanced energy efficiency efforts for low-income multifamily housing that includes public, subsidized and unsubsidized affordable housing, as well as a pilot program targeting EWR efforts at customers with higher past-due bills or higher energy use.
  • For DTE Electric customers, additional investment in energy efficiency assistance in low-income multifamily housing and low-income customers who’ve had trouble keeping up with payments.
  • For DTE Gas customers, expanded efforts to help low-income customers living in multifamily buildings achieve energy savings through the direct installation of energy efficiency measures along with information and education on reducing energy bills.

The partial settlement with DTE Gas Co. leaves unresolved issues raised by the Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity (ABATE) concerning DTE Gas’s proposal to earn a financial performance incentive on its EWR program costs. The issues remain to be litigated.

Michigan’s energy waste reduction standards were established in 2008 and amended in the 2016 energy laws, Public Acts 341 and 342. The utilities have exceeded the efficiency goals every year since 2008, and Consumers Energy and DTE are expected to continue to exceed the EWR goals, based upon the plans filed. 

The settlements were reached with increased input from stakeholders. ABATE, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Housing Trust, the Ecology Center and MPSC staff participated in each of the settlements; Soulardarity and EcoWorks participated in both DTE cases, and the Sierra Club in the DTE Electric case.

Separately, the Commission also approved a change to Consumers Energy’s shutoff protection plan tariff involving the utility’s Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE) pilot program. The Commission’s order (Case No. U-17493) approves removal of a limitation that had prevented CARE participants’ ability to enroll in Consumers’ Shutoff Protection Plan after they’re no longer active in CARE.

MPSC SETS SCHEDULE FOR DTE ELECTRIC CO.’S RENEWABLE ENERGY PLAN

The MPSC today set a schedule for the proceedings to review DTE Electric Co.’s renewable energy (REP) plan (Case No. U-18232) in light of the Commission’s Feb. 20 order in DTE Electric’s integrated resource proceeding (Case No. U-20471) that recommended changes to the IRP and directed DTE to file a REP update by April 1, 2020. A final order in the REP case is expected no later than July 9, 2020.

To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the E-Dockets filing system here.

To watch a livestream of the MPSC’s meetings, click here.

For information about the MPSC, visit www.Michigan.gov/MPSC, sign up for one of its listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter.

DISCLAIMER: This document was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify, supplement, or be a substitute for the Commission’s orders. The Commission’s orders are the official action of the Commission.

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