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Participation, consumption rebound in Michigan’s electric choice program after pandemic-related declines

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Electricity consumption among customers enrolled in Michigan’s electric choice program rebounded in 2021 after a pandemic-related decline the year before, according to the annual Status of Electric Competition report released today by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The rebound resulted in an increase in demand to 2,175 megawatts (MW) in 2021, up 217 MW from a decline to 1,958 in 2020 amid the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the number of customers participating in the electric choice program increased to 5,939 in 2021, up from 5,706 in 2020 and 5,817 in 2019. Almost all choice participants are commercial or industrial customers, from large manufacturers to retailers, restaurants, health care facilities and school systems.

Michigan opened its utility service market to competition through the Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act of 2000, which permits a limited number of customers to buy electricity from either their local electric utility or an alternative electric supplier (AES). The amount of electric load that could be designated through the choice program was limited to 10% of an electric utility’s average weather-adjusted retail sales for the preceding calendar year, under Public Act 286 of 2008.

The number of licensed AESs in Michigan declined by two to 22 in 2021 after the Commission revoked licenses for Sunwave USA Holdings Inc. and Liberty Power Holdings LLC. As of December 2021, about 5,962 customers remain in the queue of those interested in participating in the program if space becomes available under the 10% cap.

Electric choice programs for Consumers Energy Co., DTE Electric Co., Upper Peninsula Power Co., Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., Cloverland Electric Cooperative and Indiana Michigan Power Co. remained at or near their 10% cap for 2021.

Michigan is one of 20 jurisdictions that had full or limited restructuring of retail electric markets in 2021.

The MPSC’s Customer Choice webpage has customer, supplier and program information about electric choice participation for each utility.

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

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