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The MPSC provides many different opportunities for the public to participate in cases, workgroups or events. Customers, business owners, consultants, etc. may share their views by becoming an intervenor in a case, attending and speaking at Commission meetings or public hearings, commenting on a case, writing a letter to the Commission or filing a complaint or inquiry with MPSC Staff.
The Commission conducts most of its official business through the formal case & hearing process. There are several types of cases related to the regulation of electric, natural gas and telecommunications services that come before the Commission.
Contested Case: A proceeding, including rate-making, price-fixing, and licensing, in which a determination of the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a named party is required by law to be made by an agency after an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing. MCL 24.203(3). All parties must be represented by licensed attorneys, except that individuals who are not licensed attorneys may represent themselves.
Ex Parte: A proceeding, initiated by one party, requesting relief that does not result in an increase in the rates, charges, or cost of service to customers. Ex parte relief may be authorized and approved without notice or hearing. The Commission will determine if the relief requested is in the public interest. The Commission may, in its discretion, direct a contested case proceeding.
Commission’s Own Motion: The Commission may initiate a proceeding to address important issues within its jurisdiction that do not arise from an individual party’s request. This type of proceeding is often an uncontested case.
Investigation: An investigation is initiated by the Commission on its own motion to review an issue that involves one or more utilities. An investigation may result in a contested case.
Show Cause: A proceeding, on the Commission’s own motion, that requires a party to explain why the Commission should not take a certain proposed action. If the party fails to give sufficient reasons why the Commission should take no action, the Commission will take action. This proceeding typically requires a party to show why it did not violate a particular rule or Commission’s order. A show cause proceeding is a contested case.
Complaint: The Commission conducts both informal and formal complaint proceedings. An informal complaint proceeding is usually held before MPSC Staff or other mediators and involves a good faith attempt of the parties to settle a dispute before a formal complaint is filed. A formal complaint is held before an administrative law judge and is a contested case.
Rulemaking: A statute may authorize or direct the Commission to promulgate rules or initiate changes to existing rules. Before adopting or changing a rule, the Commission must follow the procedures under the Administrative Procedures Act (MCL 24.231-24.266), which include providing notice of and conducting a public hearing regarding the proposed rule.
Adjudicatory proceeding: A proceeding before an administrative agency in which the rights and duties of particular parties are adjudicated or decided after notice and opportunity to be heard. A contested case is an adjudicatory proceeding. In contrast, the proceeding before a court is a judicial proceeding.
Comment on a Case
You can provide comments to the Commission regarding your position on a case without being an official party or intervenor in the case.
You can find out about cases that may affect you by viewing the public notices for hearings and opportunities to comment through our website, in the newspaper or reading about cases in your utility bill. The notice will provide mailing information and will also explain the timeframe for filing comments.
Upon approval, any written comments or e-mails sent to the Commission will be placed into the case docket. As such, it will be available for public review on the commission's website, and will be available for review by the Commission.
When you send comments, whether by mail or e-mail, please include the case number (ex. U-2XXXX). Comments can be mailed to:
Michigan Public Service Commission
P.O. Box 30221
Lansing, Michigan 48909
E-mailed comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becoming an official party to a Case
If you want to become an official party to the case, you must file a Petition to Intervene with the Commission through the E-docket system by the date provided in the Notice of Hearing and follow the other guidelines described in the notice. You can refer to the Rules for Practice and Procedure Before the Commission, which can be found at:
Practice and Procedure Before the Commission, pp. 45-68
If you have been granted intervenor status, you will receive the official documents of the case and will be automatically notified of events in the case.
Follow the Progress of a Case
You can receive information on a particular case in two ways.
- If you are an intervenor, you will receive notice of all materials filed by the parties to a case.
- If you are not an intervenor, all documents filed in a case and transcripts of hearings are available to the public and may be viewed on the Commission’s E-docket system or through the Case & Hearing page of our website. To subscribe for notifications for a specific case, search our E-docket system by the case number, click on the orange box with the words "Notify Me of New Approved Filings" and enter and submit your email address.
The Commission typically holds two meetings a month, although additional meetings may be added to the schedule as needed. All meetings are held at the Commission’s office located at 7109 W. Saginaw Hwy, Lansing, Michigan, unless otherwise noticed in advance. Any person present at a Commission meeting may address the Commission during the time reserved on the agenda for public comments. Public comments will be included in the live stream and recordings of the Commission meeting and may be posted on the MPSC’s website. The meeting site is handicap accessible and anyone requiring additional accommodations are encouraged to contact the MPSC’s Executive Secretary at (517) 284-8090.
The Commission will sometimes hold a public hearing in certain proceedings to allow customers of a utility and other interested people to share their comments on a pending case about their utility. The Commission typically schedules public hearings in the service territory of the utility. Prior to the hearing, the Commission will publish a public notice of hearing and will also provide information about the hearing to local organizations for distribution.
The MPSC has established workgroups with the purpose of investigating specific issues or developing and streamlining various regulatory activities. These workgroups can include participants from MPSC Staff, regulated utilities, industry experts, utility customers and others.