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MPSC approves DTE Electric, Consumers Energy special rates to help attract, retain advanced manufacturing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 22, 2021

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The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved requests by the state's two largest electric utilities to provide special rates for high-volume industrial customers as part of efforts to ensure Michigan can compete with other states when companies look for sites to build facilities for producing electric vehicles, related components including batteries and semiconductors, and other advanced manufacturing. 

Both Consumers Energy Co. and DTE Electric Co. filed applications in November for approval of rates geared toward attracting large, unique, and energy-intensive companies involved in electric vehicle, electric battery storage, semiconductor/chip and other high-tech manufacturing, and supporting current Michigan manufacturers, including those in the auto industry that are preparing for major transformation as the vehicles they produce will increasingly be powered by electricity. 
The approval of these economic development rates follows the signing by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of bipartisan legislation earlier this week to provide $1 billion in incentives for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's new Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reservoir, or SOAR, to lure major high-tech manufacturing to the state.  

Consumers Energy, in its application (Case No. U-21160 ) approved today, said the company is aware of 10 projects that are actively considering locating in Michigan, representing nearly $65 billion in potential investment and about 21,000 new jobs. 

Consumers proposed a new Large Economic Development (LED) tariff designed to attract new high-tech manufacturers, similar to two rates the company is already approved to offer - its Long Term Industrial Load Retention Rate and Energy Intensive Primary Rate. Consumers argues that, instead of negotiating rates with individual companies, the new category of rates for energy-intensive electric users will offer a competitive rate on incremental electric load with a minimum of 35 megawatts (MW) for a minimum contract term of 15 years. 

The Commission also approved DTE Electric's application to implement a new XL High Load Factor rate (Case No. U-21163 ) to offer competitive rates to new advanced manufacturers or existing manufacturers such as auto companies shifting their product lines to= support the growing demand for electric vehicles. 

DTE Electric's application states that the rate will be limited to large-volume new and existing customers adding incremental electric load of a minimum contract capacity of 50 megawatts and a minimum contract term of 15 years.  

Per both Consumers and DTE Electric's applications, the special rates are based on the marginal cost of serving these new, unique, and energy-intensive loads, and the customers on this rate will be responsible for their share of transmission and distribution system costs, as well as surcharges. These rates would not impact any existing rates or result in higher costs for other classes of customers, including smaller industrial or commercial users or residential customers.  

Special rates such as this cannot, under Michigan law, result in higher costs or rates for other customers, a key factor the Commission must consider in weighing the application.

Because the Commission found that approving the applications made by Consumers and DTE Electric would not result in an increase in the cost of service for any existing customer, the Commission found it appropriate to issue ex parte orders. 

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT APPROVED FOR $1.25M RATE INCREASE FOR ALPENA POWER CO. 

The MPSC today approved a settlement agreement permitting a rate increase of $1.25 million for Alpena Power Co. that also establishes new tariffs, including first-time tariffs for distributed generation, efficient electric heating, and electric vehicles (EVs). Among other provisions, the agreement (Case No. U-21045 ) requires Alpena Power to make a one-time donation for low-income utility bill assistance and work with MPSC staff to develop pilot programs for expanded use of EV charging stations and a distribution system plan. The utility will be authorized to earn an overall rate of return of 5.52%, including a rate of return of 9.85% on common equity, with a revised power supply cost recovery base rate of 73.34 mills. A typical residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will see an increase in their monthly bill of $3.99 (6.03%) beginning in January 2022. The settlement agreement was reached between the utility and intervenors in the case: the Michigan Attorney General's Office and the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan. MPSC Staff also participated. 

MPSC ADOPTS CHANGES TO GAS SAFETY STANDARDS RULESET 

The MPSC today formally adopted changes to its gas safety standards ruleset that make minor changes to the Michigan rules so that they better conform with federal rules (Case No. U-20903 ). The Commission has worked on the update since 2019 and received input from Consumers Energy and DTE Gas Co. in the case. The Legislative Services Bureau and the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR) granted formal approvals in October, and the rules were filed with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which filed no objection. Today's order adopts the changes and transmits them to MOAHR for filing with the Michigan Secretary of State. 

MPSC OKs TEMPORARY BASIC LOCAL EXCHANGE LICENSE FOR FUSION CLOUD SERVICES LLC 

The MPSC today granted Fusion Cloud Services LLC a temporary license to provide basic local exchange telephone service throughout the state in all zone and exchange areas served by AT&T Michigan, Frontier North Inc., Frontier Midstates Inc. and Frontier Communications of Michigan Inc. (Case No. U-21149 ). The temporary license will be in effect until the Commission approves or denies a permanent license, or for a maximum of one year. The company must file a tariff reflecting the services it will offer and identifying the exchanges where it will offer those services before it can begin providing them under the temporary license. 

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 .  

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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