- Electric customers on Michigan's Upper Peninsula could see up to $24 million in rebates related to the Presque Isle Power Plant following a ruling last week by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Midwest Energy News reports.
- In an Oct. 19 order, FERC reached several conclusions, including that Wisconsin Electric Corp.'s collection of nearly $24 million to keep the plant running was not just or reasonable, and that the company altered the date of an invoice to recover certain costs.
- But the agency did not accuse the utility of fraud or manipulation, instead referring the case to its Office of Enforcement for additional review.
The Presque Isle saga continues years after WEC's 2013 attempt to shutter the plant. The Midcontinent ISO has determined the plant is needed for reliability despite WEC's attempts to shutter it in 2013, leading to the current dispute that spans nearly 20 dockets, Midwest Energy News noted. Last year, FERC determined system support resource (SSR) costs must be allocated to the load-serving entities that require the plant to continue operating.
Now, customers may see a break with federal regulators slashing some costs recovered by the utility. FERC’s ruling represents a nearly 50% reduction in WEC’s costs to run PIPP. MISO will have 45 days to make a recommendation to FERC on how much money, if any, should be refunded.
“Today is a great day in our continuing efforts to lower power costs for Michiganders in the U.P.,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. “We stood up for the Upper Peninsula and we won.”
A statement from Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said the state has "vigorously challenged" the SSR payments in more than 20 dockets at FERC.
FERC also referred the matter of the altered invoice to the commission's Office of Enforcement, determining in the order that “we make no findings at this time regarding whether Wisconsin Electric committed fraud or engaged in manipulation when a date was changed on an invoice."
The Michigan Agency for Energy has also been pressing for changes in how SSR payments are allocated to allow for more transparency.
“We need to end this system of secret deals to keep this conduct from happening again,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of MAE in a statement. “I was extremely pleased with today’s FERC ruling, including the fact they will investigate further, and I call on them to quickly take action on changes that would allow the state to put these kinds of charges to the smell test before they end up on our citizens’ bills.”