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MPSC issues final MI Power Grid report, noting accomplishments of its effort to inform Michigan’s clean energy transition
April 24, 2023
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The Michigan Public Service Commission today released the final report of its MI Power Grid initiative to guide and maximize the benefits of rapid changes in the state’s transition to clean energy, work the Commission said will continue.
The MI Power Grid final report, to be filed today in Case No. U-20645, marks the formal conclusion of an effort launched in October 2019 by the MPSC and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Fueled by the participation of 386 stakeholders in 70 stakeholder meetings, MI Power Grid resulted in 70 Commission orders in 16 case dockets related to the effort.
“The MPSC is grateful to all the organizations and individuals who’ve put in so much effort along with MPSC Staff to dive deeply into issues facing the industry during this historic transition to clean, distributed energy resources,” MPSC Chair Dan Scripps said. “The incredible work done through MI Power Grid has helped inform and shape the ways Michigan will integrate new clean energy technologies, optimize grid investments and engage utility customers and other stakeholders to help ensure a modernized power grid that provides reliable, affordable service.”
Along with the final report, the Commission also today gave its final approval to adopt new Interconnection and Distributed Generation Standards, formally rescinding legacy net metering rules, measures that received final approval through the State of Michigan’s administrative review process (Case No. U-20890). These updates have been central components of the MPSC’s MI Power Grid initiative as they outline the process by which clean, distributed sources of energy can interconnect with the utilities’ distribution grids. The MPSC transmitted the new rules to the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules for filing with the Secretary of State.
Since the MPSC’s last status report in 2021, notable MI Power Grid accomplishments include:
- Adoption of recommendations from the Customer Education and Participation workgroup on the best ways to provide safe access to customer energy data, balance the availability of that data with customer privacy, and promote customer engagement with the transition to clean energy.
- Approval of an expedited, 90-day process for reviewing utility pilot programs, aimed at reducing implementation delays, and further guidance on a benefit-cost analysis as part of the New Technologies and Businesses Models workgroup.
- The launch of a Distribution System Data Access workgroup to convene utilities, distributed generation contractors, electric vehicle charging infrastructure providers and other stakeholders to better understand how to support the integration of additional distributed energy systems and electric vehicles on the grid. .
- Adoption of updated parameters and filing requirements for integrated resource plans, or IRPs, as part of the Advanced Planning workgroup. IRPs lay out an electric utility’s long-range forecasts for ensuring reliable service over 20 years, with specific requirements for reporting 5-, 10- and 15-year projections.
- Adoption of updated distribution system service quality rules and technical standards in the Grid Stability and Reliability Standards workgroup. The updates included larger power outage credits for utility customers, a new Distribution System Reliability Metrics webpage to provide greater public access to information about electric grid reliability, and other improvements.
Underscoring that work begun through MI Power Grid will be ongoing at the MPSC, the Commission today approved several orders addressing ongoing and new efforts aimed at improving the grid and readying it for future challenges:
- Asked stakeholders to review and provide additional comments on a proposal by utilities involved in the Commission’s effort to develop a Michigan-specific uniform benefit cost analysis requirements for pilot projects, part of the ongoing work of the MI Power Grid New Technologies and Business Models workgroup Case No. U-20898. The Commission described a proposal filed in February by DTE Electric Co. and Consumers Energy Co., developed in cooperation with the Michigan Electric and Gas Association and the Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity, as a useful starting point but noted that comments in the case present additional considerations not included in the proposal. The Commission directed participants to file comments on the proposal with emphasis on several questions meant to address the additional considerations. Comments should be filed no later than 5 p.m. June 23, 2023, and should reference Case No. U-20898.
- Granted a rehearing sought by DTE Electric Co. and DTE Gas Co., jointly, and by Consumers Energy Co., in the MPSC’s MI Power Grid Customer Education and Participation (CE&P) workgroup’s continued examination of how to best provide safe access to customer energy data, balance the availability of that data with customer privacy, and promote customer engagement with the transition to clean energy (Case No. U-20959). DTE Gas, DTE Electric and Consumers Energy had objected to provisions of the Commissions Sept. 8, 2022, order in the case. The Commission also a indicated it is seeking comment from interested parties on the CE&P workgroup’s final report filed March 25, 2022. Initial comments and feedback are due by 5 p.m. May 22, 2023, and replies by 5 p.m. June 12, 2023. The Commission directed MPSC Staff to review the comments and file further recommendations to the Commission by July 24, 2023. Submitted comments should reference Case No. U-20959.
- Announced it is seeking comments, as part of the MI Power Grid Distribution System Data Access workgroup’s efforts, on a preliminary report on grid integration that the MPSC Staff has been conducting in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, including assessments of grid reliability, the potential growth of distributed energy systems, changes to the design and operations of the grid, grid system costs and benefits, and other matters (Case No. U-21251). The preliminary report is expected to be filed by May 1, 2023, and the Commission requests interested parties file comments by 5 p.m. May 19, 2023, with replies due by June 2, 2023. Comments should reference Case No. U-21251. A final version of the report is due to be filed by June 30, 2023.
- Directed MPSC Staff to launch a Financial Incentives and Disincentives workgroup to examine with the aim of improving the reliability of Michigan’s electric grid, noting the grid’s lack of improvement and worsening reliability using industry-standard measures of the frequency and duration of power interruptions (Case No. U-21400). Today’s order directs the work group to initially focus on a “reliability-plus” approach to distribution grid performance, particularly on reliability and safety. The Commission directed the workgroup to develop metrics relating to reliability including the industry-standard measures system average interruption frequency index (SAIFI); system average interruption duration index (SAIDI), including and excluding major event days; customers experiencing multiple interruptions (CEMI); customer average interruption duration index (CAIDI); and resilience, including the duration of outages during extreme weather, using recently updated Service Quality rules as a baseline. The Commission also directed the workgroup to examine challenges to effective accommodation and leveraging of increasing growth of distributed generation, electric vehicles, and other distributed energy resources. After distribution performance metrics are developed, the workgroup will then examine rate structures and methods by which incentives and disincentives may be applied. The Commission directed MPSC Staff file a report of the workgroup’s investigations and findings by Dec. 31, 2023.
Anyone submitting comments on these matters can send them by mail to Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI, 48909, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filing directly in the Commission’s E-Dockets system in each respective case.
Commissioner Tremaine Phillips departing MPSC
Commissioner Tremaine Phillips, whose tenure since 2019 has been marked by a focus on electric vehicles and telecommunications issues and a deep concern for underserved and historically marginalized communities and their needs, announced he is leaving the MPSC this week.
Phillips, whose departure is effective April 26, said the move was the most difficult he’s faced in his life, but was in the best interest of his family.
“This decision has been made after much thought and consideration of my family’s personal and professional priorities, taking into account an exceptional opportunity recently presented to my wife, which our family believes is too significant to pass up,” Phillips told MPSC Staff in an email announcing his decision.
Phillips was appointed to the Commission by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in September 2019. The administration is currently conducting a search for a successor to Commissioner Phillips, whose term ends July 2, 2025.
Phillips was instrumental in the development and implementation of the MI Power Grid initiative, an effort to maximize the benefits of rapid changes in the state’s transition to clean energy for Michigan residents and businesses, leading the initiative’s efforts around demand response programs, utility pilots, customer data access, and the integration of electric vehicles and distributed energy systems to the grid.
Commissioner Phillips has also served on the board of directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and as the Chairmen of the NARUC Committee on Telecommunications. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of the Organization of PJM States and represents the Commission on Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Michigan Poverty Task Force, the Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, the Michigan Environmental Justice Response Team, and the Connecting Michigan Task Force. He served on NARUC’s Broadband Expansion Task Force, a two-year effort to improve broadband access in underserved communities throughout the country.
“Tremaine can’t be replaced,” Chair Dan Scripps said, “not only for his expertise, but also because he’s an exceptional human being. He is widely recognized as one of the best utility regulators in the country and is universally respected for his leadership on telecommunications and electric vehicles. We will miss him greatly.”
MPSC APPROVES CONSUMERS ENERGY’S GAS COST RECOVERY PLAN, ACCEPTS 5-YEAR FORECAST
The MPSC approved Consumers Energy’s application for a gas cost recovery (GCR) factor of $7.5851 per thousand cubic feet, plus a contingency mechanism, for the 12 months ending March 31, 2023 (Case No. U-21062). Consumers initially requested a GCR factor of $3.6996 in its December 2021 application, but the company filed a revised application in June 2022 estimating a $206 million underrecovery because of significantly higher natural gas prices amid global energy turmoil after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office intervened in the case, as did the Retail Energy Supply Association and the Residential Customer Group. MPSC Staff also participated.
To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the MPSC’s E-Dockets filing system.
Watch recordings of the MPSC’s meetings on the MPSC’s YouTube channel.
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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