State regulators OK controversial power rule

State regulators, DTE and Consumers all maintain that it’s hard to plan for Michiganders’ electricity demands when customers switch between regulated utilities and the choice market. The energy laws will require utilities and alternative suppliers alike to demonstrate that they have enough power owned or under contract to meet demand for electricity. They want all electricity suppliers serving Michigan customers to contribute to the state’s power generation needs in an equitable way.

“Today’s order allows the Commission to thoroughly examine the way the local clearing requirement is implemented to ensure continued reliability across the state and that electric suppliers are all acting responsibly in planning ahead for their customers,” DTE said in a statement. “The MPSC will conduct its due diligence through the contested case process it has established, as they have the authority to direct and implement the law.”

In a statement, Consumers said: “Access to affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy is essential to the way we live. Michigan’s 2016 Energy Law laid out a framework that ensures access to all of these important elements of energy service. At Consumers Energy, we believe it’s the responsibility of all energy providers to ensure they have secured adequate capacity to serve their customers.”

Utilities plan power generation partly based on the need to meet peak electricity demand. In Michigan, peak demand occurs on hot, humid, sunny weekday afternoons. Having enough generation capacity in Michigan is key to Public Service Commission planners.

What concerns the MPSC are projections that Michigan’s Lower Peninsula could face a shortfall in reserve electricity capacity sometime in the next three or four years, depending on power plant shutdowns and the speed of new plant construction. Reserve capacity is the amount of electricity needed to meet maximum peak daily demand.

Glenn also said the MPSC and utility executives used “irresponsible scare tactics”…

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