AG Nessel plans to intervene in utilities' rate hike requests
After three Michigan utility companies filed to increase rates for their services, state Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday she plans to intervene.
The three companies, SEMCO Energy Gas Co., Indiana Michigan Power Co. and DTE Electric Co., have filed for rate increases with the Michigan Public Service Commission, according to the Attorney General's Office.
SEMCO is seeking a $28 million rate increase for its natural gas service, a 14% hike for the company's 300,000 residential customers in southeast Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, according to a release by Nessel's office.
“Protecting the pocketbooks of Michigan ratepayers is a top priority for the Michigan Department of Attorney General, which is why I intervened in SEMCO’s request for a rate increase for its natural gas service,” Nessel said.
Indiana Michigan Power Co. is seeking a $58.5 million rate increase for its 129,000 customers in southwest Michigan. The increase would amount to a 25% increase for customer rates if the request is approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
“On the heels of a 20-percent rate increase for customers just last year, I&M has no business looking for another exorbitant rate hike on the backs of our residents. This increase is simply unsupportable and unreasonable on its face,” Nessel said.
DTE Electric is seeking a $328 million rate increase after receiving a $125 million rate increase earlier this year. The new rate hike would raise its residential customer's monthly bills an additional 9%, the release said.
The attorney general also is planning to intervene if Consumers Energy announces a rate increase.
In January, a fire broke out at the company's Ray Compressor Station in Macomb County. Last week, the Michigan Public Service Commission ordered the company to provide a detailed cost for the incident to be used in its upcoming cases, including any general rate cases.
Consumers Energy has not filed for a rate increase.
"We will continue to closely monitor the developments of these cases and any subsequent filing by Consumers Energy to make certain that any unreasonable costs from the Ray Compressor Station explosion that forced Michiganders to dial back their heat in sub-zero temperatures are not offloaded on our state’s residents,” Nessel said.