Regulators approve surcharges on Michigan energy bills

MICHIGAN - Michigan regulators approved adding fees to energy bills so utilities can meet new renewable power and energy-efficiency requirements.

Starting September 1, residential electric customers of Consumers Energy Co. will pay $2.50 a month for a renewable energy program.

And beginning June 1, the utility's power customers will pay 71 cents per month for a program designed to reduce electricity usage.

Consumers Energy, the state's second-biggest utility, will charge residential natural gas customers $1.72 a month for the energy-efficiency program. The Michigan Public Service Commission is expected to approve similar surcharges for DTE Energy Co., the state's largest utility, no later than June 2.

The surcharges are allowed under a 2008 state law enacted by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature. Backers have said the fees will be offset if customers take advantage of appliance rebates, home energy audits and opportunities such as using more energy-efficiency light bulbs.

The following utilities also won approval of surcharges:

• SEMCO Energy Inc. will charge residential natural gas customers $1.52 a month for energy efficiency starting July 1.

• Michigan Gas Utilities Corp. will charge residential natural gas customers $1.24 a month for energy efficiency starting July 1.

• Upper Peninsula Power Co. will charge residential electric customers $1.05 a month for energy efficiency starting July 1.

• Wisconsin Public Service Corp. will charge residential natural gas customers $1.40 a month and residential electric customers $0.65 a month for energy efficiency starting July 1.

• Wisconsin Electric Power Co. will charge residential electric customers $0.65 a month for energy efficiency starting July 1.

Regulators also formally adopted rules for a new program so wind and solar energy users can get billing credit for excess power they generate. Residential and business customers who add windmills and solar panels onsite can receive credits at full retail rate from utilities.

The Public Service Commission also fined the Northern Michigan Pipeline Co. $20,000 under a settlement involving a dispute over whether the company improperly started construction of the Pleasanton Pipeline in Manistee County.



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