Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (Photo: dana2018.com)
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (Photo: dana2018.com)

Several Michigan utility companies will face rate increase reviews, according to the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

In accordance with Michigan’s Public Utility Commission (PUC), each utility must submit a “rate case” request to win approval for the increase.

SEMCO Energy Gas Company

Michigan AG’s office filed a notice on June 29 with the state’s Public Service Commission (MPSC) regarding a proposed 14%, $28 million, rate increase by SEMCO Energy Gas Company for its 300,000 natural gas customers. Nessel reacted, saying that protecting Michigan ratepayers pocketbooks is a top priority, “which is why I intervened in SEMCO’s request for a rate increase for its natural gas service.”

Indiana Michigan Power Company

In addition, Nessel’s office filed a notice of intervention regarding Indiana Michigan Power Company’s (I&M) request to increase rates by $58.5 million, or 25%, for its 129,000 electric customers in the southwest area of the state.

“On the heels of a 20% rate increase for customers just last year, I&M has no business looking for another exorbitant rate hike on the backs of our residents,” Nessel said. “This increase is simply unsupportable and unreasonable on its face.”

DTE Electric Company

The Nessel also plans to intervene in the rate increase request by DTE Electric. DTE received a rate increase of $125 million, or 7%, earlier in the year. Now it is asking for an additional 9% jump.

“Months after it received a rate increase from MPSC, DTE shows it is completely unconcerned about the savings accounts of its consumers,” Nessel said. “Today I’m putting them on notice: I plan to vigorously review all their filings and make certain the priority in this case is ensuring affordable energy for Michigan consumers, not dividends for their shareholders.”

Recent Michigan Rate Reversals

The attorney general’s plans come on the heels of recent rate reversals in Michigan. In May, settlement agreements were reached with Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO), Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation and Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation where ratepayers saved more than $11 million.

“In this never-ceasing rate increase climate for essential goods and services, I am happy to be able to reverse this trend,” said Nessel. “This is much-needed relief – especially UPPCO electric residential customers, who have been facing some of the highest electric rates in the state.”

Consumer Energy’s Ray Compressor Station Fire Case

Although there has been no request for a rate increase by Consumers Energy, it has issued a report to the MPSC as a result of its internal investigation in relation to a fire at its Ray Compressor Station. Upon submission of that report, the MPSC requested a detailed cost summary for the incident in its upcoming cases, including general rate cases, power supply cost recovery cases and/or gas cost recovery cases.

“We will continue to closely monitor the developments of these cases and any subsequent filing by Consumers Energy to make certain that any unreasonable costs from the Ray Compressor Station explosion that forced Michiganders to dial back their heat in sub-zero temperatures are not offloaded on our state’s residents,” said Nessel.

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