Nessel intervenes with UPPCo’s request

LANSING — Last week, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel intervened in Upper Peninsula Power Co.’s (UPPCo’s) outage credit waiver request currently before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). UPPCo is requesting a permanent waiver related to how it counts outages under one of the MPSC’s service quality rules.

Under MPSC service quality rules that were updated last year, customers are entitled to an outage credit if they experience 6 or more outages within a 12-month period. In addition, the updated rules require MPSC regulated utility companies to track the number of outages and provide an automatic credit. Previously, customers were required to contact their utility provider to ask for an outage credit they were owed.

In UPPCo’s request, the company is asking to be permanently excused from the new rules requiring they calculate each outage that occurs during catastrophic conditions. Catastrophic conditions are defined as events during which 10% or more of the utility’s customers are without power or there is an emergency government declaration. Instead of calculating each outage that occurs during a catastrophic condition, UPPCo wants permission from the MPSC to count multiple outages as a single outage. Nessel intervened upon belief that UPPCo’s request for a permanent waiver is unreasonable and unnecessary.

“UPPCo’s outage credit waiver request could potentially skirt and undermine the amended service quality rules set in place just last year; rules that my office advocated zealously to improve,” said Nessel. “My team will be carefully examining this request to side-step the Commission’s new rules, but UPPCo’s insistence on a permanent waiver is already troubling. We will continue to fight for customer-friendly rules and challenge unreasonable waiver requests.”

UPPCo customers are encouraged to submit their own thoughts and comments by visiting the MPSC’s docket page for this matter, Docket U-21586.

The Department of Attorney General this month launched a new website dedicated to the Department’s work intervening in utility cases on behalf of Michigan ratepayers.

The website highlights the Department’s Power Outage Credit Feedback & Inquiry Form requesting utility customer feedback to help the Attorney General track outage-related trends and patterns to help with her ratepayer advocacy. Consumers who believe they were owed a credit for a power outage, but didn’t receive it, or received less than they believed they were owed are also encouraged to complete the form. The form is available for both residential and business customers.

The site also includes:

• Updated information on outage credit criteria for utilities regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

• Links for residents to attend meetings of, or file their own comment before, the MPSC.

• Links to the 2023 Utility Performance Report so residents can see how their provider ranks.

• Frequently Asked Questions so consumers can know who to contact with concerns, how rates are determined, what options are available to consumers and more.

• A video highlighting the Utilities Imposter Scam.


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