FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sept. 15, 2021
The Michigan Public Service Commission today released a summary report on its efforts to implement the recommendations contained in its 2019 Statewide Energy Assessment, which launched a major effort to pursue ways to make the state's energy systems more secure, reliable, and resilient.
In 2019, after a statewide energy emergency threatened the state's natural gas supply during a brutal winter cold snap, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the MPSC to study whether the state's energy systems are adequate to handle operational problems, extreme weather events and other changing conditions, and to recommend ways to reduce risks.
The result was the MPSC's Statewide Energy Assessment (SEA), a comprehensive evaluation of the systems supplying and distributing electricity, natural gas and propane for Michigan homes and businesses as the energy industry deals with challenges that include more frequent extreme weather, aging infrastructure, limitations on energy supply, and emerging threats such as cyber and physical attacks on energy infrastructure.
"The work stemmed from a series of weather and energy emergencies that I'm sure many of us remember vividly, and has spurred over 50 recommendations and observations that the Commission Staff has been executing on ever since," said Commissioner Katherine Peretick. "The quantity and quality of the work on the Statewide Energy Assessment is impressive, and it's also deeply important for the future of our energy infrastructure, and the integrity of our energy production and distribution systems as we continue to see the amplified effects of our changing climate."
In implementing the recommendations from the Statewide Energy Assessment over the past two years, MPSC Staff has worked with utilities, consumer advocacy groups and other stakeholders on an array of efforts. In addition to the summary of implementation activities released today, the Commission marked the milestone at its most recent meeting with a presentation from MPSC Staff outlining the progress so far.
Commissioner Tremaine Phillips praised MPSC Staff for simultaneously taking on the work of implementing SEA recommendations while also launching, in partnership with Governor Whitmer, MI Power Grid, a multiyear effort to guide Michigan residents and businesses through rapid changes in the energy industry's transition to clean energy, all amid a global pandemic.
"Events like Hurricane Ida and other extreme weather scenarios that have occurred throughout our globe coupled with the physical security and cyberattacks that have occurred over the last 24 months, have only helped to reinforce the importance of the recommendations identified in the Statewide Energy Assessment and the work undertaken by the Commission to increase the reliability and resilience of our energy systems," Phillips said.
MPSC Chair Dan Scripps said the last two years of work implementing improvements outlined in the SEA shows the MPSC Staff's commitment to increasing reliability and resilience for the state's energy systems and reducing risks.
"It's one thing to produce a comprehensive snapshot of where we are and what our energy systems are facing," Scripps said. "It's another thing to take each of those 50-plus recommendations, boil them down into what needs to be done, often in consultation with the regional grid operators or with other departments in state government, and see them through. This continued focus on implementation day after day is a testament to the diligence of our Staff and the MPSC's culture of focusing on actual implementation. It's not just enough to study it; we've got to move forward and provide real results for the people that we serve."
Read the MPSC's update on two years of progress implementing recommendations from the SEA. Background information about the SEA is available in the MPSC's SEA fact sheet and at the MPSC's SEA webpage.