Statewide Energy Assessment Submitted to the Governor

The Statewide Energy Assessment has been submitted to Gov. Whitmer and the final report is now available online. Click here to see the Michigan Statewide Energy Assessment Final Report.

In January of 2019, the polar vortex and fire at the Ray Compressor Station prompted the Governor to request the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to undertake a statewide review of the supply, engineering, and deliverability of natural gas, electricity, and propane systems, as well as contingency planning related to those systems.

According to the press release, "The final report, which took into account public input from a variety of stakeholders, found that Michigan’s energy systems are adequate to meet customer needs. But there are significant ways that regulated utility companies, the MPSC, policymakers and others can work to strengthen and improve them. The final 220-page report makes 37 recommendations for the MPSC to improve the state’s energy systems, along with 15 observations outside of the MPSC’s regulatory jurisdiction". 

The MPSC, 

  • Ordered Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., Consumers Energy Co., DTE Gas Co., Michigan Gas Utilities Corp., Northern States Power Co., Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-Op and Semco Energy Gas Co. to file reports to the Commission expanding on how they will reliably serve their customers during peak times of colder-than-normal winters to also include contingency options for resilience at key facilities and more resilience in peak-day plans. The reports also must show how their systems will be resilient enough to maintain service if there are supply issues that go beyond extreme weather (Case Nos. U-20539 through U-20552).
  • Ordered the creation of workgroups of MPSC Staff experts, representatives of utilities, consumer organizations and others that will:
  1. Examine how to improve response from customers asked to reduce their energy use during periods of system disruption (Case No. U-20628);
  2. Explore developing mutual aid agreements – already in place for electric utilities – that could result in improvements that help safely restore natural gas outages as quickly as possible. The group also would examine developing contingency planning for transmission of natural gas, including the potential impact on the delivery of natural gas to customers (Case No. U-20631);
  3. Review whether natural gas curtailment procedures should be updated to prioritize residential heating over natural gas use for electric generation when appropriate during energy emergencies. As the use of natural gas for electric generation grows, competition for natural gas as both a heating source and an electric generation resource increases (Case No. U-20632);
  4. Assess Michigan’s current electric service quality and technical standards, exploring best practices in other states and how current and future technological advances might improve safety and reliability and reduce customer outages (Case Nos. U-20629 and U-20630).
  • Ordered MPSC Staff to evaluate making system resilience a part of utilities’ long-term electric distribution investment and maintenance plans. The Commission also extended deadlines for DTE Electric, Consumers Energy and Indiana Michigan Power to file their next plans to account for this order (Case No. U-20147).

In addition, Governor Whitmer and Chairman Talberg sent letters to the CEOs of regional transmission organizations serving Michigan, Midcontinent Independent System Operator and PJM Interconnection LLC, identifying recommended enhancements to transmission planning and wholesale market rules to improve electric reliability and resiliency based on the report’s findings.

The Commission’s report focused on five categories: electric, natural gas, propane, cyber and physical security, and energy emergency management. The commission considered comments from numerous stakeholders on a draft released in early July.

The report is available on the Commission’s docket in Case No. U-20464 at www.michigan.gov/mpsc under E-Dockets.

The assessment found that Michigan’s energy systems are able to provide reliable supply and delivery at peak demand, and that market forces and regulatory oversight ensure utility companies are making needed investments in supply and delivery.

But there remain risks that can disrupt the system, including security threats, abnormal weather, changing electricity supplies and other factors. While systemwide risks of major emergencies remain low, these events have significant impact on the well being of Michiganders and the state’s economy.

To strengthen Michigan’s energy delivery systems and reduce risks, the report’s recommendations include:

  • Strengthening natural gas infrastructure maintenance and planning.
  • Creating a system of integrated electricity system planning and strengthening electrical connections between Michigan’s peninsulas and its neighboring states.
  • Establishing more diverse sources of energy supply.
  • Enacting rules for cyber security and incident reporting for natural gas utilities.
  • Developing a formal contingency plan for continued supply and delivery of propane in the event of disruptions, including the potential temporary or permanent shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

A Statewide Energy Assessment fact sheet is here. An SEA website is here.

To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the E-Dockets filing system here.

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