MPSC Approves Consumers Energy Rate Hike, Seeks Justification for Keeping Uneconomic Coal Plants Running

On February 28th, the Michigan Public Utilities Service Commission issued a decision allowing Consumers Energy to increase their customer’s electricity bills. In approving that rate hike, the Commission required that Consumers Energy run a cost/benefit analysis on its aging coal fleet and provide that detailed analysis on their next general rate case filing. EarthJustice and Olson, Bzdok, & Howard represented the Sierra Club in this rate case.
In response, Regina Strong, Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Michigan, released the following statement:
“We do not agree with the Commission’s decision to approve a rate hike, part of which will pay for Consumers’ investments in dirty, uneconomic coal plants. But, we are glad to see the Commission require Consumers Energy to undertake a detailed benefit/cost study of potentially retiring the D.E. Karn 1 and 2 and J.H. Campbell 1 and 2 coal plant units in the relatively near future. Given the escalating cost of maintaining coal-fired power generation units, that are already between 49 and 55 years old, the company should not commit to capital spending on these plants before  that analysis is completed. Ratepayers should not be on the hook for avoidable costs that are no longer economically justifiable.
“Today’s decision also initiates a separate proceeding to address electric vehicle issues, to be led by Staff. Its goal is to convene stakeholders from the EV marketplace and develop a statewide master plan for EV charging infrastructure, including the role for Michigan’s utilities. Our electric utilities have a critical role to play in shaping the future of the EV market, from infrastructure to education. Today’s decision marks a critical step toward realizing that future in Michigan, the birthplace of the modern auto industry.”

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