|John G. Strand, Chairman || Dorothy Wideman|
|David A. Svanda || Mary Jo Kunkle|
|Robert B. Nelson|| (517)334-6983|
LANSING, August 17. The Michigan Public Service Commission today set a
deadline of September 1, 1999 for The Detroit Edison Company and Consumers Energy
Company to notify the Commission if they choose to voluntarily implement the customer
choice program previously ordered by the Commission in six orders issued between
June 5, 1997 and August 17, 1999. Today's order follows the June 29, 1999 Michigan
Supreme Court ruling in which the Court overturned the Commission's authority to
mandate that the companies offer an experimental retail wheeling program, a new
service. The Supreme Court concluded that the decision to provide a new service lies
within the province of the utility's management, not the Commission. On June 30, 1999,
the Commission requested briefs on the impact of the Supreme Court decision on the
Commission-approved electric customer choice program. Under the Commission
authorized program, customers would be allowed to begin choosing alternative electric
suppliers by September 20, 1999.
Today's order provides Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy with two options.
If either company chooses to voluntarily implement the customer choice program, the
utility's Chief Executive Officer must file a statement by September 1, 1999 to that effect,
including an affirmation that its Board of Directors have approved the implementation.
Once customers have begun taking open access service, this service is no longer a new
service under the Michigan Supreme Court decision and the Commission can regulate the
rates, terms and conditions of service. If either company chooses not to implement the
customer choice program, then the decision of whether to require the companies to do so
will rest with the Michigan Legislature.
Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy provide electric service to about 2 million
and 1.6 million customers respectively.
The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Consumer and Industry
Case No. U-11290 et al.
August 17, 1999
(Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy to indicate voluntary compliance with customer