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Michigan Issues Resiliency Assessment

The Michigan Public Service Commission has released its final Statewide Energy Assessment outlining a number of immediate steps the Commission and its Staff will take to ensure that the state’s systems for supplying and distributing energy to homes and businesses become more resilient and able to withstand weather extremes, aging infrastructure, and other challenges ahead. The report found that Michigan’s energy systems are adequate to meet customer needs and identified significant ways to strengthen and improve.

The report caps a process that began last winter when Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked the Commission to evaluate the state’s energy systems after a statewide energy emergency was declared Jan. 30-31 while a polar vortex cold snap enveloped Michigan. During that period, a fire at a Consumers Energy compressor station threatened to disrupt the delivery of natural gas in the state. At the same time, the regional electric grid operator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, declared an electric emergency affecting Michigan and 14 other states, requiring all power generation to operate at maximum capacity.

In addition to outlining measures to improve the state’s energy system, the commission ordered:

 

  1. 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 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.
  2. Its 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.

 

Both Michigan governor Whitmer and Commission Chairman Sally A. 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. Re Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. et al., Case Nos. U-20539 et al., Sept. 11, 2019 (Mich.P.S.C.).

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