John G. Strand, Chairman Dorothy Wideman
John C. Shea Mary Jo Kunkle
David A. Svanda (517)334-6983

     LANSING, December 20.  The Michigan Public Service
Commission today scheduled public hearings on a plan to introduce
competition into the State's electric utility industry.  The hearings
will focus on a Commission Staff Report that was released yesterday.

     The Report recommends a phased-in program of direct access
(also known as customer choice) based on two fundamental
principles: (1) all customers should be eligible to participate in the
emerging competitive market, and (2) rates should not be increased
for any customers and should be decreased where possible.  The
program outlined in the Report would:

     *    Allow all customer classes, including residential, to
          begin choosing their own electric provider in 1997. 
          Initially, this will begin at 2.5% of each utility's
          customer base and will escalate each year.

     *    Cap rates for captive customers throughout the
          transition to competition.

     *    Suggest bond legislation so that utility debt can be
          refinanced providing rate reductions to all customers.

     *    Allow industrial and commercial customers to select
          their own provider by 2001.

     *    Allow all residential customers to select their provider
          by 2004.  

     *    Benefit the environment by allowing customers to
          purchase electricity from renewable power production

          The MPSC will hold three public hearings on the report
as follows:

          January 7, 1997          Detroit
          1:30 p.m.           City County Building
                              Auditorium, 13th Floor
                              Two Woodward Avenue
                              Detroit, Michigan

          January 13, 1997         Grand Rapids
          1:30 p.m.           City County Building
                              City Hall, 9th Floor
                              Commission Chambers
                              300 Monroe, NW
                              Grand Rapids, Michigan

          January 14, 1997         Lansing
          1:30 p.m.           Michigan Public Service
                              Hearing Room A
                              6545 Mercantile Way
                              Lansing, Michigan

     Written comments may also be filed with the Commission by
January 21, 1997 at the following address:

          Executive Secretary
          Michigan Public Service Commission
          P.O. Box 30221
          Lansing, MI     48909
     The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Consumer
and Industry Services.

Case No. U-11290
December 20, 1996
(Electric Industry Restructuring Staff Report/Public Hearing