The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved orders meant to expand wireless Lifeline service in areas of the state and boost competition among existing telephone service providers.
The Commission today approved an application from DISH Wireless LLC for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier, which permits the company to have access to federal Universal Service Fund support for expanding and enhancing wireless Lifeline phone service (Case No. U-21382). The company intends to offer plans through the Lifeline program that provides phone discounts for low-income families.
DISH Wireless, based in Colorado, sought approval to offer its Gen Mobile service, which provides low-cost wireless phone service to underserved communities, to areas throughout the state, including a dozen federally recognized Tribal lands.
The Commission also:
- Granted a permanent license to EarthGrid PBC, doing business as EarthGrid Corp., to provide basic local exchange phone service throughout Michigan (Case No. U-21417). The Commission in August granted the company a temporary license. The Commission found that granting EarthGrid the permanent license will expand competition among service providers; the company intends to offer service in areas in which Frontier North Inc., Frontier Midstates Inc., and AT&T Michigan are the incumbent local exchange carriers.
- Granted a permanent license to Ohio-based Cincinnati Bell Extended Territories LLC, doing business as Altafiber Connected Services, to provide basic local exchange service throughout Michigan (Case No. U-21449). The Commission granted the company a temporary license in July. The permanent license permits Altafiber to provide service, also in zones and exchange areas served by Frontier North Inc., Frontier Midstates Inc., and AT&T Michigan.
MPSC SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON UTILITIES’ PROPOSED INTERCONNECTION PROCEDURES
The MPSC today announced it is seeking comments from interested parties on proposed interconnection procedures, also known as MIXDG procedures, under new Interconnection and Distributed Generation Standards the Commission adopted this year, formally rescinding legacy net metering rules (Case No. U-21455 et al). As directed by the Commission, the following utilities filed final proposed interconnection procedures, along with requested rule waivers: Northern States Power Co., Indiana Michigan Power Co., Upper Peninsula Power Co., Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., Consumers Energy Co., DTE Electric Co., and Alpena Power Co., along with Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Cloverland Electric Cooperative, Great Lakes Energy Cooperative, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon REA, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, and Thumb Electric Cooperative. Any person may file written comments, suggestions, data, views, questions, argument or modifications. Comments must be filed, referencing the appropriate case number, by 5 p.m. Oct. 27, 2023. Reply comments are due by 5 p.m. Nov. 13, 2023. Electronic comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments also may be mailed to Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909.
COMMISSION APPROVES ADJUSTMENT OF POWER OUTAGE CREDIT TO $38
The MPSC today raised the daily power outage credit for customers whose service remains out longer than state service quality and reliability standards permit to $38 from $35, marking the first required annual inflation adjustment since the Commission approved raising the credits from $25 per day in March 2023 and made the credits automatic (Case No. U-20629). The outage credit is required to be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index each October 1, with the amount rounded up to the nearest dollar.
MPSC OKS CONSUMERS ENERGY’S POWER SUPPLY COST RECOVERY RECONCILIATION
The Commission approved Consumers Energy Co.’s application for a power supply cost recovery (PSCR) reconciliation for the 2021 calendar year, with modifications, with a net overrecovery balance of $7,394,644, inclusive of interest, as the company’s 2022 beginning balance (Case No. U-20803). The Commission disallowed $338,067 in replacement power costs associated with a more than 8-hour outage on Aug. 24, 2021, at the utility’s Karn Unit 1. The Commission also approved a request from biomass merchant plants Cadillac Renewable Energy LLC; Genesee Power Station LP; Grayling Generating Station LP; Hillman Power Co. LLC; TES Filer City Station LP; National Energy of Lincoln LLC, and National Energy of McBain LLC for $17,120,794 in capped and uncapped costs. The Commission directed Consumers Energy to provide reporting on planned and unplanned wind generation outages in future PSCR reconciliations and set the company’s net financial compensation mechanism overrecovery balance of $341,056, with interest, as its 2022 financial compensation mechanism calculation beginning balance.
MPSC APPROVES GAS TRANSPORTATION SERVICE AGREEMENT BETWEEN DTM MICHIGAN GATHERING CO. AND DTE GAS CO. FOR USE OF ANTRIM EXPANSION PROJECT
The MPSC approved an application by DTM Michigan Gathering Co. (DGC) for approval of a firm gas transportation service agreement between DGC and DTE Gas Co. with the rates, terms and conditions of transportation on the Antrim Expansion Project (Case No. U-21406), a pipeline project previously approved by the Commission. Today’s approval also applies to future similarly situated shippers. The approved transportation service will not result in an increase in the cost of service for other shippers on the AEP system. The Commission noted that MPSC Staff and intervenors will have the chance to assess the reasonableness of the rate DTE Gas will pay under the agreement in future gas cost recovery proceedings.