Public hearing to plan for utility accountability

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has scheduled a public hearing in Marquette to develop parameters of integrated resource plans (IRP) that are required for rate-regulated utilities under the state’s new energy laws, which went into effect in April.

The new laws are expected to result in more affordable and reliable service for utility customers throughout Michigan, according to the state’s website. The new energy law requires rate-regulated electric utilities to submit IRPs to the MPSC for review and approval.

Rate-regulated utilities will use the IRPs to identify and evaluate options for meeting electricity needs, the MPSC website states.

Some of the key inputs to be considered in an IRP are demand response, energy waste reduction, environmental requirements, supply adequacy, planning reserve margins and modeling scenarios to test the plans.

To accomplish this, the MPSC is required to gather input from the public, and in collaboration with the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), set modeling parameters and assumptions for utilities to use in filing integrated resource plans.

Utilities will use IRPs as they look ahead at how to meet the electric needs in their service areas, according to the website. The plans will include impact of state or federal environmental laws on utilities, and other issues.

The IRPs (Case. No. U-18418) are required under the state’s new energy laws, according to the website. The IRPs are an important component of new energy laws that are expected to increase affordability, improve reliability and protect the environment.

The public hearing is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at Northern Michigan University, University Center-Huron. MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari will be present.

Written comments can be mailed to the MPSC, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909.