Saturday, December 30, 2017

Michigan Public Service Commmission orders utilities to report on savings from new federal tax law

From Michigan Public Service Commission:

LANSING -- The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), on Dec. 27, ordered  all rate-regulated utilities to report to the Commission on the impact passage of the new federal tax law will have on their customers.

Commission Chairman Sally Talberg said the special meeting was called to make sure the savings are calculated from the effective day of the federal legislation, which is Jan. 1, 2018.

The new law, signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 22, is expected to reduce the amount utilities will pay in federal taxes.

"While regulatory accounting isn’t always the most headline-grabbing topic, the guidance the Commission is providing in today’s order is important because it maximizes our future options as we sort through the totality of impacts the new federal tax law will have when it takes effect Jan. 1," Commissioner Rachael Eubanks said on Dec. 27. "The information we receive in this docket will be incredibly useful in understanding the magnitude of the expected reduction in federal taxes that the utilities pay, which is likely to be significant. It will also provide broader input regarding the appropriate avenue for how to extend benefits to customers."

Utilities have until Jan. 19 to file their comments with the Commission (Case No. U-18494) on how they propose to return savings to ratepayers. Other interested parties will have until Feb. 2 to respond to utility proposals. The Commission will then determine how and when the savings will flow back to ratepayers.

Melissa Davis, Houghton Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) manager, whose work includes making people more comfortable while improving the efficiency of their homes, welcomed this announcement if it indeed means rate relief for utility customers.

"If our utility pays less in taxes, and they're mandated to pass those savings along to us, then bring it -- the sooner the better," Davis said.*

This MPSC order applies to Alpena Power Co.; Consumers Energy Co.; Detroit Thermal, LLC; DTE Electric Co.; DTE Gas Co.; Indiana Michigan Power Co.; Northern States Power Co.; Upper Peninsula Power Co.; Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp.; Wisconsin Electric Power Co.; Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-Op; Michigan Gas Utilities Corp.; and SEMCO Energy Gas Co.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.

DISCLAIMER: This document (press release) was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify, supplement, or be a substitute for the Commission’s orders. The Commission’s orders are the official action of the Commission.

* Editor's Note: Visit the HEET Web site to learn about their work. Read also about Melissa Davis's New Power Tour, a local non-profit whose mission is to increase the use of renewable, water and energy-efficient technologies.

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