2016-11-24 / News

Case for Electricity Surcharge Delayed; FERC Still Monitoring

The case over who should pay to operate the Presque Isle Power Plant (PIPP) in Marquette for 2014-2015 is still ongoing, but is delayed because of changes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The case could result in an electricity surcharge that would be passed on to Cloverland

Electric Cooperative customers in the EUP.

After two commissioners stepped down this year and in 2015, only three commissioners remain on FERC, and one of them was recused from the case, meaning there can’t be a quorum to make a decision, said Cloverland Electric Cooperative Communications Director Todd Chapman. The case will be delayed until two members are appointed to FERC by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate.

The FERC staff is continuing to monitor the case, however, and will make a recommendation to the commission.

Cloverland and the other Michigan parties fighting the electricity surcharge are also contesting a FERC decision in Washington D.C. District Court. The Michigan parties contend that FERC does not have the authority to retroactively charge electricity rates to customers, including the 2014- 2015 charges for PIPP Wisconsin Electric is seeking from electricity users in the Upper Peninsula.

Cloverland customers would have to pay about 18% of the cost to keep PIPP open during 2014- 2015, which is currently at about $7 million, which was reduced earlier this year. The electric company is hoping to get rid of the charge entirely, Mr. Chapman said.

“We’re continuing to make the argument that the numbers continue going down,” he said. “Let’s get this settled and move on.”

A recent announcement from the Michigan Agency for Energy that electricity charges to fund a portion of the White Pine Power Plant in Marquette will be discontinued will not affect Cloverland customers. The lower electricity surcharges will only affect users in the Marquette area, as ratepayers in the Eastern Upper Peninsula have not paid to keep the White Pine Plant open.

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