Citizens Utility Board of Michigan Applauds MI Power Grid Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 17, 2019

Contact: Amy Bandyk - amy.bandyk@cubofmichigan.com

Earlier today, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Public Service Commission announced a new initiative “designed to guide Michigan residents and businesses through the energy industry’s rapid changes in the transition to clean energy” called MI Power Grid.

Based on what we have seen so far, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Michigan sees great promise in the MI Power Grid initiative to empower ratepayers to control their energy use and cut their bills. The effort is placing a large emphasis on energy customers - from expanded clean energy options to a focus on ratepayer value from new investments.

“We’re pleased to see that the MI Power Grid initiative involves not only educational components and opportunities for further discussion, but also real action that will benefit residential utility customers through rulemaking and evidentiary hearings,” said Amy Bandyk, executive director of CUB of MI. 

Earlier this year, amidst massive customer outages due to severe weather, CUB President Robert Nelson drew attention to the need to make utilities accountable for their service failures. MI Power Grid rightly recognizes that regulation should use financial incentives and disincentives to push utilities toward better performance. 

“We look forward to evaluating the details of the MPSC's move toward performance-based regulation as they emerge,” said Robert Nelson, president of CUB of MI.

Next, the MPSC's forward-looking approach - which embraces the ongoing shift to a more decentralized electric grid - is greatly needed in Michigan. Incumbent electricity providers have in many cases stood in the way of changes that would allow ratepayers to benefit from this energy transition the way they have in other states. For example, other states have been ahead of Michigan in providing access to data about the grid that customers need to integrate distributed generation like rooftop solar. MI Power Grid seeks to finally make this data available to customers.

Finally, the focus on customer engagement in MI Power Grid is also extremely important. 

“Time-based rates, demand response and energy management resources are powerful tools with the potential to benefit energy consumers. But without engaging customers on how to use them, these tools can appear overly complicated and confusing. It would be a great shame if customers were to miss out on the benefits of energy innovation due to poor communication,” said Bandyk

CUB plans to actively participate in the MI Power Grid initiative on behalf of Michigan’s residential ratepayers to help ensure it delivers on these promising goals.

For more information about CUB of Michigan, visit www.cubofmichigan.org.

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The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan’s mission is to represent the interests of residential energy customers across the state. Our goal is to educate and engage Michigan consumers in support of cost-effective investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy and against unfair rate increase requests.