MPSC adopts updated digging damage complaint form. Action brings attention during Safe Digging Month to safety around underground lines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   April 18, 2019

Contact: Nick Assendelft 517-284-8300
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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission today adopted an updated form to report and track excavation damage to underground utility infrastructure.

The revised Facility Damage Prevention Complaint form streamlines the reporting process and enhances the quality and relevance of the information needed for investigative purposes (Case No. U-17497). The Commission on Feb. 21 ordered the MPSC staff to propose updates and it set a March 5 deadline to receive public comments.

The updated form simplifies damage reporting by reducing the number of information fields while still collecting the most relevant information. It also conforms with national industry data collection practices. The new form is to be used beginning today.

Public Act 174 of 2013, known as the MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage and Safety Act, instructed the MPSC to implement provisions to process complaints, report and track damages to underground facilities, and to make the data available on its website.

It is one of the MPSC’s priorities to make sure Michiganders, whether residents or contractors, are safe when undertaking digging practices. April is Safe Digging Month and the MPSC urges all those who are planning excavation projects to call 8-1-1 or go to www.MISSDIG811.org at least three business days before starting a project. Technicians will mark the locations of underground gas, electric, communications, water, or sewer lines using flags or spray paint. Stay clear of marked areas or dig carefully by hand to expose underground facilities.


CONSUMERS ENERGY POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS OK’D

Two Consumers Energy Co. power purchase agreements with biomass plants were approved by the Commission (Case No. U-20496). The amended agreement with Viking Energy Corp. will be in effect until May 31, 2027. Consumers will continue to buy power produced at plants in Lincoln and McBain under new contracts that replace a contract extension approved by the Commission in September 2018. The contract will not increase rates for Consumers’ customers.

DTE GAS GRANTED TEMPORARY WAIVER FOR METER TESTS

The Commission approved a settlement agreement between DTE Gas Co. and MPSC Staff that waives meter testing requirements in the Commission’s Technical Standards for Gas Service and allows alternative testing procedures (Case No. U-20346). Rules 51 and 52 of the Michigan Administrative Code require periodic natural gas rotary and diaphragm meter testing, unless the Commission approves a waiver. The MPSC’s waiver ends Dec. 31, 2020.

INDIANA MICHIGAN POWER CO. IRP DEADLINE EXTENDED

Indiana Michigan Power Co., which serves approximately 129,000 customers in southwest Michigan, was granted an extension to file its integrated resource plan with the Commission (Case No. U-18461). I&M is developing a single IRP that will be submitted to the MPSC and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. I&M’s submission to the MPSC is now due by Aug. 14.

THREE TELECOM COMPANIES SURRENDER LICENSES, FOURTH GRANTED

The Commission approved requests from three telecommunications companies to surrender their licenses to provide basic local exchange services under the Michigan Telecommunications Act. Access Point Inc. said it transferred its customers to GC Pivotal, LLC on Jan. 1 (Case No. U-15580). Sparta Telephone Co., Inc. said it has ceased operations (Case No. U-16845). 365 Wireless, LLC was acquired by Brightlink Communications, LLC (Case No. U-17245). The Commission also approved a temporary license for Cherry Capital Connection, LLC, doing business as Cherry Capital Communications (Case No. U-20474). Cherry Capital proposes providing basic local exchange service throughout Michigan.

NORTHERN STATES POWER TO ISSUE MORE TAX CUT REFUNDS

Gas and electric customers of Northern States Power Co. will see reductions in their bills after the MPSC approved settlements in a third round of refunds related to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. NSP will refund a total of $55,698 on natural gas bills from June through December – approximately $2.72 per month for residential customers using 10 decatherms monthly -- and $31,030 per year beginning next January – or a reduction of 48 cents a month for residential customers using 10 decatherms (Case No. U-20312). The utility also will refund $61,993 on electric bills from June through December – approximately 55 cents per month for residential customers using 500 kilowatt hours monthly -- and $18,552 per year beginning in January -- or a reduction of 10 cents a month for residential customers using 500 kilowatt hours (Case No. U-20313). A first round of refunds for NSP customers was approved in May 2018 and a second round in September 2018.

To look up cases from today’s meeting, access the eDockets filing system here.

To watch a livestream of the MPSC’s meetings, click here.

For information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc, sign up for one of its listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter.

DISCLAIMER: This document was prepared to aid the public’s understanding of certain matters before the Commission and is not intended to modify, supplement, or be a substitute for the Commission’s orders. The Commission’s orders are the official action of the Commission.

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