MPSC establishes new MI Power Grid workgroup on rate designs for distributed energy resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 4, 2021

Media Contact: Matt Helms 517-284-8300
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The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved orders establishing a new workgroup within its MI Power Grid initiative and adopting a definition of utility pilot projects while also extending deadlines for status reports on the effort.

MI Power Grid, launched in October 2019 with support from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, is a multi-year stakeholder initiative to maximize the benefits of the transition to clean, distributed energy resources for Michigan residents and businesses. The effort has three areas of emphasis: customer engagement, integrating emerging technologies and optimizing grid investments and performance.

In Case No. U-20645, the Commission order adopts a definition of pilot projects and objective criteria for evaluating such projects, and directs utilities to file comprehensive pilot plans before the Commission for funding approval that include the objective criteria to be evaluated.

The Commission agreed with MPSC Staff to extend the deadline for a second MI Power Grid status report to the third quarter of 2021, and the deadline for the final MI Power Grid report no later than Oct. 1, 2022, to grant sufficient time for full stakeholder participation in the initiative given the challenges presented by the pandemic.

In Case No. U-20960, the Commission established a Distributed Energy Resources Rate Design workgroup, following a request from the Michigan Senate last year that the Commission study rate design issues relating to the growth of distributed energy resources. The Commission has enlisted the help of the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) to facilitate the analysis of rate design options for evolving energy technologies, with opportunities for feedback from stakeholders.

The order directs MPSC Staff to file a report by Sept. 1, 2021, that includes a comprehensive analysis of how customer-owned generation and energy storage are changing the way customers use the grid, cost allocation and possible customer charges, proposed rate design options and recommendations for the Commission to consider. Stakeholders and the public would then have the opportunity to comment before a final report is submitted by Oct. 31, 2021.

MPSC APPROVES CONSUMERS ENERGY’S APPLICATION FOR ONE-TIME GAIN SHARING WITH CUSTOMERS

The MPSC today approved Consumers Energy Co.’s application to share with its customers 50%, or $14 million, of the proceeds from the 2020 sale of the certain of the company’s transmission assets to Michigan Electric Transmission Co. (Case No. U-20949). While the sale of transmission assets is not subject to MPSC regulation, Consumers nevertheless concluded its customers’ interests would be best served by a one-time voluntary sharing of the proceeds. The $14 million will be used to cover storm-restoration costs that exceed amounts included in Consumers’ Commission-regulated rates. Any of the $14 million not spent on storm costs would be distributed to customers through a bill credit in 2022.

CONSUMERS ENERGY POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS APPROVED

The MPSC approved several power purchase agreements (PPAs) involving Consumers Energy Co. and renewable energy providers. The Commission approved PPAs totaling 10.7 megawatts (MW) between Consumers and members of the Independent Power Producers Coalition of Michigan for the output of electric generation facilities fueled by landfill gas, specifically Energy Developments Byron Center LLC, Energy Developments Coopersville LLC, Energy Developments Grand Blanc LLC, and Energy Developments Pinconning LLC (Case No. U-20838). The Commission also approved an amended and restated 12 MW power purchase agreement between Consumers Energy and Michigan Wind 1 LLC for the output of the Oceana 1 Wind Farm Plant that supports the utility’s now-closed Green Generation voluntary green pricing program (Case No. U-20942).

MPSC APPROVES DTE ELECTRIC CO. PEAK PRICING TARIFF MODIFICATION

The MPSC today approved amended tariff language to DTE Electric Co.’s dynamic peak pricing rate D1.8 to reduce the amount of time needed to notify participating customers of an anticipated critical peak event, designed to shift energy use to off-peak times (Case No. U-20923). The Commission previously directed DTE to amend the tariff language so that the notification period qualifies the program as a load-modifying resources with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional grid operator. DTE Electric’s rate D1.8 customers now are notified by 6 p.m. the day before an expected critical event. Today’s order permits DTE Electric to reduce the notification window to 6 hours, to comply with MISO requirements expected to begin in spring 2021.

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

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

For information about the MPSC, visit www.Michigan.gov/MPSC, sign up for its monthly newsletter or other listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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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