|John G. Strand, Chairman || Dorothy Wideman|
|David A. Svanda || Mary Jo Kunkle|
| || (517)334-6983|
LANSING, March 8. Today, the Michigan Public Service Commission
took the final step necessary to allow electric customers in Michigan to choose an
alternative electric supplier if they wish to do so. The Detroit Edison Company
must develop application forms by March 22, to permit some customers to choose
an alternative supplier before the peak summer season. The purpose of this
program is to assist Detroit Edison in meeting its electric capacity needs for this
In addition, the Commission adopted implementation plans for Consumers
Energy Company and Detroit Edison that will allow other customers of those
utilities to choose alternative suppliers beginning September 20, 1999. Ultimately,
all customers will be allowed to choose another supplier by January 1, 2002.
"The Public Service Commission's orders are designed to achieve two
goals," said Commission Chairman John Strand. "First, we need to make sure that
adequate electric supplies are available to meet the needs of Michigan citizens this
summer. Second, electric customers will be able to choose their supplier if they
wish to do so, thus making the benefits of competition available to all." Chairman
Strand emphasized that customers will not be required to switch suppliers and may
stay with their existing utility if they wish. According to Chairman Strand, "The
Commission's program is designed to provide choice for those who want it and
protection for those who don't."
In a related matter, the Commission ordered Detroit Edison to reduce its
rates by $14.8 million on January 1, 2000, in addition to the $93.8 million
reduction that the Commission had previously required. The Commission also
began a proceeding to examine alternative licensing options for electric suppliers.
The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Consumer and Industry
March 8, 1999
Cases Nos. U-11290 et al.
(MPSC approval of Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison implementation plans,