CUB in the News: Water shutoffs, power failures and other Issues leave Detroit vulnerable during heatwaves

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Final Statewide Energy Assessment Has Good Ambitions But Will Require Quick Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2019

With the final Statewide Energy Assessment (SEA), the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has acted promptly in response to fuel reliability concerns from this past winter. The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan has followed this process closely, as residential ratepayers need adequate protection from service outages and price spikes.

"We applaud the MPSC for many of the final SEA’s bold recommendations that can help protect Michigan energy consumers," said Amy Bandyk, executive director of CUB of MI. "In particular, CUB of Michigan appreciates that the commission added to the final report the recommendation of a specific framework for valuing energy waste reduction, demand response and other non-wires alternatives in utility plans for distribution grid improvements. This is in line with CUB’s comments filed on the initial SEA, arguing that efficiency resources deserve special attention because they tend to carry lower costs for consumers than capital-intensive investments."

"We also applaud the commission’s recommendation to create a workgroup to “investigate” improvements for the state’s Service Quality and Reliability Rules. One point of caution, however: as CUB (as well as Attorney General Dana Nessel) has already argued, the problems with the current rules are already known. The burden is placed on the customer to ask the utility for credits to be added to their bills following extended outages, leading to very few customers receiving the credits they are due. In addition, the value of these credits is unrealistically low given the harm outages pose for the customer. More mass outages like those experienced this July will unfortunately likely happen again, so CUB urges the MPSC to ensure the workgroup’s investigations are speedy and speak to the need for increased credits for outages so more customers do not lose opportunities for relief," said Bandyk.

For more information about the 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.

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CUB in the News: DTE Still Working To Restore Power To Thousands; Michigan Fourth Worst In Restoration Time

DTE Still Working To Restore Power To Thousands; Michigan Fourth Worst In Restoration Time

WWJ News Radio 950

July 23, 2019

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/dte-still-working-restore-power-thousands-michigan-fourth-worst-restoration-time

 

DTE Energy rate hikes among biggest in country — as reliability still lags

Detroit Free Press

By Keith Matheny

August 5, 2019

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/08/05/dte-energy-electric-rate-hikes/1900782001/

 

Study says Michigan ranks among slowest states at restoring power

By Lauren Janes

July 24, 2019

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/study-says-michigan-ranks-among-slowest-states-restoring-power

 

Climate change brings urgency to debate over Detroit’s grid resilience

Energy News Network

By Brian Allnutt

August 13, 2019

https://energynews.us/2019/08/13/midwest/climate-change-brings-urgency-to-debate-over-detroits-grid-resilience/

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CUB in the News: Opinion | Ex-public service commissioner: Michigan utilities among slowest to restore power

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CUB in the News: Opinion | Speak up before electric bills go up

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Businesses, clean energy and ratepayer advocates demand state regulators support affordable, clean energy

DTE’s long-term energy plan draws widespread criticism at Detroit public hearing

DETROIT – Clean energy businesses, ratepayer advocacy organizations, conservation leaders and more today called on the Michigan Public Service Commission to ensure DTE Energy makes clean, renewable energy a focus of its long-term energy plan.

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U.P. Energy Task Force a win for ratepayers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday June 14, 2019 

LANSING – The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB) today issued the following statement regarding Governor Whitmer’s announcement of appointments to the U.P. Energy Task Force, which was created to help ensure U.P. residents have affordable, reliable and clean energy. CUB of Michigan contractor and board member Jennifer Hill, who is also a Marquette City Commissioner, was appointed to the task force.

“For far too long, U.P. residents have endured exorbitant energy costs, which has put significant burdens on families and businesses,” said Amy Bandyk, executive director of CUB of MI. “We applaud Governor Whitmer for taking these much-needed steps to ensure ratepayers in the U.P. have affordable and reliable energy that increasingly comes from clean, renewable sources. U.P. residents should be heartened to know that Jenn Hill is fighting for their interests and we are sure that she, along with the others experts on the task force, will work to make real progress for U.P. residential ratepayers.”

For more information about the 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.

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UPPCO Residential Customers Spared Massive Rate Hike in Settlement Agreement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 23, 2019

LANSING – The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB of MI) today applauds the outcome of an approved settlement agreement sparing residential customers a massive rate hike originally proposed by the Upper Peninsula Power Company in UPPCO Rate Case U-20276 before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

UPPCO originally asked for an additional $9 million per year in revenue. Under this settlement agreement approved today by the MPSC, they will be allowed to collect only $1.8 million.

“We’re happy to see that under this agreement, UPPCO’s residential customers won’t be taking the brunt of this rate hike as we’ve seen in other recent Michigan utility rate case decisions,“ said Amy Bandyk, executive director of CUB of MI. “We’re glad Attorney General Dana Nessel got involved to fight this exorbitant rate increase request.”

Attorney General Nessel and U.P. consumer group Citizens Against Rate Excess (CARE), who intervened in this rate case, were able to reach this settlement with UPPCO so that residential ratepayers won’t have to pay for the new rate increase. Their rates per kilowatt-hour will actually go down slightly. UPPCO also dropped their request to increase their fixed monthly charge by $10 per month.

“Overall, while we think the electricity rates that UPPCO’s residential customers pay in the U.P. are still way too high, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Bandyk.

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DTE rate increase hits residential customers hardest

LANSING – The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB of MI), an organization advocating for Michigan residential ratepayers, today issued the following statement regarding the Michigan Public Service Commission’s approval of a rate increase by DTE Energy.

“At a time when Michigan residents have the highest electricity costs in the Midwest, this rate increase hits residential customers hardest, increasing their rates further,” said Amy Bandyk, executive director of CUB of MI. “We compliment the Public Service Commission for not accepting DTE’s full rate increase request, but we’re concerned that residential customers still take the brunt of this rate hike. It is especially unfair to low-income customers who can barely pay for the rates they are presently charged. We urge the Public Service Commission to stand up for Michigan families and hold big utility companies accountable.”

“We’re pleased to see that the Public Service Commission rejected DTE’s request for automatic rate increases over the next three years that would have increased DTE’s revenue by almost a billion dollars and would have increased residential rates by almost 30%,” said Bandyk. “We also oppose increasing monthly fixed charges for residential customers and are glad to see the Commission rejected DTE’s proposal to raise them.”

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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. To learn more, visit www.cubofmichigan.org.

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Attn: UP CUB Members - MPSC schedules Escanaba meeting for public comment on UPPCO's integrated resource plan proposal

From the Michigan Public Service Commission: https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/0,4639,7-159-16400_17280-494350--,00.html

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