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PSC sides with MEC, orders Consumers Energy to refund $86 million

Feb 9, 2010
Electric customers of Consumers Energy will receive $86 million that was improperly collected by the company. The refund comes after a successful legal challenge brought against the utility by the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC).

In a ruling issued Monday, the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) sided with the council, which has fought for years to have the money returned to customers. It was collected over a three-year period as a surcharge on customers’ bills to pay for the decommissioning of the Big Rock nuclear plant near Charlevoix.

The commission agreed that Consumers Energy improperly funneled the money into general operating revenues and did not use it for the decommissioning.

“This ruling affirms that the money belongs to the ratepayers of Michigan and not to the utility company, “said James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council Policy Director.

The Council is engaged on several other fronts to keep electricity rates reasonable, including:

  •  Monitoring implementation of a PSC order requiring Consumers Energy to place $186 million in a trust fund to pay for long-term disposal of nuclear waste. The waste continues to be stored indefinitely on the shores of the Great Lakes.
  •  Watchdogging to ensure state utilities don’t gouge consumers for the cost of renewable energy. MEC’s work already has helped reduce the proposed cost of Consumer Energy’s renewable energy by more than $70 million.
  •  Analyzing less expensive and less polluting alternatives to proposed new coal-fired power plants. Those plants will send billions of Michiganders’ dollars outside the state to buy imported coal.
“In this time of increasing home foreclosures and rising energy costs, we need to do everything we can to keep electricity rates in check,” said Chris Kolb, Michigan Environmental Council President. “We are pleased to have helped return this money to residents, and applaud the Public Service Commission for protecting the public.”

James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council: 517-256-0553
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