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MPSC approves new Consumers Energy solar power contracts and settlement resolving earlier dispute
January 20, 2022
The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved contracts permitting Consumers Energy Co. to continue to increase the amount of electricity it provides to customers that is generated from solar facilities and resolve disputes involving earlier solar power contracts.
In Case No. U-20165, the Commission approved Consumers Energy Co.’s application for approval of full avoided cost rates under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) in accordance with the utility’s integrated resource plan (IRP) approved by the Commission in June 2019. In that IRP, the utility indicated it intended to procure 6,000 megawatts (MW) of new solar by 2040. Today’s order approves the PURPA avoided costs for when Consumers has a capacity need based upon the company’s 2020 competitive solicitation and approves avoided costs of $54.46 per megawatt-hour or $2.8 million per installed MW for future PURPA contracts. Because Consumers has met its capacity requirements through this competitive solicitation, it was also found not to have a capacity need at this time.
In Case No. U-20500, the Commission approved amendments to PPAs with sPower Development Co. for the output of four solar projects. The projects are the 20-MW Cement City Solar in Lenawee County; the 15 MW Letts Creek Solar in Jackson County; the 20 MW Pullman Solar in Allegan County, and the 20 MW Thorn Lake Solar in Washtenaw County.
Under the agreement, in which sPower dismisses its pending complaint in the matter, Consumers and sPower agreed to adjusted rates based on extended start dates. The Commission approved the initial sPower PPAs in December 2019 that were the result of a Sept. 11, 2019, settlement agreement (Case No. U-20615) that resolved rights and obligations under PURPA between Consumers and numerous developers of new solar facilities in the utility’s interconnection queue.
In Case No. U-20604, the Commission approved Consumers’ application for a PPA with Michigan Apple Packers Cooperative Inc. for the output of its 375-kilowatt solar plant in Sparta in Kent County. The approximate cost of the 10-year contract is $146,000, with an average projected cost of $39.80 per megawatt hour.
COMMISSION OKs ENERGY WASTE REDUCTION SETTLEMENTS FOR DTE ELECTRIC AND DTE GAS
The MPSC today approved settlement agreements involving DTE Electric Co. and DTE Gas Co.’s two-year energy waste reduction (EWR) plans for calendar years 2022-2023 that include additional assistance for low-income customers and innovative approaches to connecting assistance programs with energy waste reduction efforts as a long-term effort to reduce these customers’ energy burden. Among other terms of the settlement, DTE Electric (Case No. U-20876) and DTE Gas (Case No. U-20881) will offer energy waste reduction to customers in the utilities’ Payment Stability Plan; increase spending on other programs for income qualified customers in both single-family and multi-family housing; perform studies that will prioritize areas most in need of EWR assistance, and work to boost diversity, equity and inclusion among contractors and suppliers in their EWR program. In addition to DTE Electric, parties to the settlement were the Michigan Department of Attorney General; Natural Resources Defense Council; National Housing Trust; Sierra Club; Ecology Center; Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity; Energy Michigan Inc., and MPSC Staff.
MPSC APPROVES CONSUMERS ENERGY’S POWER SUPPLY COST RECOVERY PLAN
The MPSC today approved Consumers Energy Co.’s power supply cost recovery plan for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2021, and authorized the utility to set a cost recovery factor of $0.00709 per kilowatt hour (Case No. U-20802). Intervenors in the case were the Michigan Department of Attorney General; Midland Cogeneration Venture Limited Partnership; Ada Cogeneration Limited Partnership; Michigan Power Limited Partnership; Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity, and the Residential Customer Group. MPSC Staff also participated.
MPSC APPROVES ELIGIBILTY, LICENSING FOR CENTURYLINK BROADBAND SERVICES TO EXPAND TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INTERNET SERVICES
The Commission approved the voluntary relinquishment of eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) designation for CenturyLink Communications LLC effective today (Case No. U-21016) while approving licensing for an affiliated company amid changes in ownership. The Commission in May 2021 approved CenturyLink Communications’ amended application for designation as an ETC for purposes of universal service fund support for High Cost and Lifeline in specified areas. The company requested the voluntary relinquishment effective the date an affiliated company, CenturyTel Broadband Services, doing business as CenturyLink Broadband, is granted ETC status. The Commission today approved CenturyLink Broadband’s applications for both a permanent license to provide basic local exchange phone service throughout Michigan (Case No. U-21143) and status as an ETC (Case No. U-21144). The orders today permit CenturyLink Broadband to receive $9.9 million that CenturyLink Communications was awarded in 2020 in the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund over 10 years to expand broadband service to 2,556 locations in Michigan.
DTE ELECTRIC AUTHORIZED TO INCLUDE MORE ELIGIBLE CUSTOMERS IN EXPERIMENTAL DEMAND RESPONSE TARIFF
The MPSC today authorized DTE Electric Co. to modify the availability of service provision of its Experimental Demand Response Tariff No. 20, to include additional customers the utility said it had unintentionally omitted from eligibility for the program (Case No. U-21165). The approval will not result in an increase in the cost of service to customers.
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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