MPSC seeks comments on IRP filing instructions, initiates formal proceeding on electric capacity requirement

October 11, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) opened cases today to gather comments about integrated resource plan (IRP) filing requirements, and for Commission staff and others to file testimony regarding future local electric capacity. The Commission also clarified an earlier decision revising the standard utility rate case application filing forms.

The IRP filings and capacity demonstration are two aspects of the state’s wide-ranging new energy laws, which were signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in December and went into effect in April. PA 341 and 342 are the first significant energy law updates in nearly a decade.

“The Commission staff and interested stakeholders for the past several months have been working through productive public discussions to help plan the energy future for customers and providers in Michigan,” MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg said. “Since the enactment of comprehensive energy reform laws in 2016, the Commission has issued nearly 50 orders to implement the new laws and provide guidance in meeting legislative requirements related to reliability, affordability, and protection of the environment.”

Integrated resource plans: Each utility whose rates are regulated by the Commission must file IRPs, which look ahead at how power providers will meet the electric needs in their service areas. The plans, which must be filed by April 2019, are to include assessments of energy waste reduction, supply adequacy, demand response, impact of state or federal environmental laws on utilities, and other issues.

The Commission staff developed draft IRP filing requirements to provide guidance to electric utilities when submitting IRPs for MPSC approval, as well as alternative filing requirements. Comments on the draft rules can be mailed or emailed by 5 p.m. Oct. 27 with responses due Nov. 9, referencing Case No. U-18461.

Capacity demonstration: The Commission opened a formal proceeding to establish the process and rules to determine where electric utilities can source their power to meet their capacity obligations (Case No. U-18444) under the new energy laws.

In September, the Commission set the four-year capacity obligations for electric providers, but sought more input on the methodology for determining how much power should be generated within a specific geographic area, called a locational requirement, to assure consistency with federal law and compatibility with the auction process set by Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional grid operator in which most of Michigan is located (Case No. U-18197). The locational requirement would apply starting in 2022.

Today, the MPSC set a Nov. 15 deadline for the Commission staff to file an initial proposal for establishing the methodology and a Nov. 22 deadline for other parties in the case. An initial hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 29 at the MPSC offices in Lansing.

An issue brief with more information about capacity demonstration and the state reliability mechanism can be found here.

Rate case clarification: Under PA 341, the Commission must decide rate cases within 10 months instead of 12 months, as previously required. In a July ruling, the MPSC adopted standard rate case filing forms and instructions, but questions subsequently were raised about specific wording used in the ruling and what that means for meeting the new deadline schedule.

The Commission ruled today (Case No. U-18238) that rate cases will be decided within the 10-month window required by the law, but that attachments to the final decision, including tariff rates sheets, can still be issued after the disposition of the case.

DTE Electric, Consumers given electric distribution system plan guidance

DTE Electric Co. in January (Case No. U-18014) and Consumers Energy Co. in February (Case No. U-17990) were instructed by the MPSC to file draft five-year investment and maintenance plans that detail anticipated needs, priorities, and spending on their distribution systems.

The Commission’s goal is to map out long-term needs and strategies for addressing aging infrastructure to assure a reliable and resilient system. This corresponds with Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2013 reliability goals to reduce how often and how long customers experience outages.

Both utilities filed their drafts plans by Aug. 1 and will have to file their final plans by Jan. 31. After reviewing the plans, the Commission said the immediate priority for utilities is to address safety and reliability issues associated with aging infrastructure, reliability and resiliency. However, future versions of the plans should address integration of new resources and approaches to optimize grid investments including energy efficiency, renewable energy, storage, and line loss reduction.

An issue brief with more information about distribution planning can be found here.

Other MPSC decisions:

UPPCO energy waste reduction plan OK’d: The Upper Peninsula Power Co.’s energy waste reduction (EWR) plan settlement agreement was approved (Case No. U-18335). Utilities are required to file annual EWR plans. UPPCO’s was for the year that ended in December with new surcharges going into effect Nov. 1. A residential customer using 500 kWh of electricity will see an increase of 15 cents in their monthly bill.

Granite request for emergency relief vs AT&T denied: Granite Telecommunications LLC was ordered to continue negotiations with AT&T over rates for a retail business line calling plan (Case No. U-18456). Granite filed a complaint with the Commission saying its customers face having their service disconnected on Dec. 31 unless a deal can be reached and that AT&T was not acting in good faith, which AT&T denies. The Commission denied Granite’s request for emergency relief and said there should be enough time to resolve the dispute.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

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