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Nessel secures rate increase reduction, new consumer programs in settlement with utility company

The agreement includes vital aid programs aimed at helping consumers.
A move by Attorney General Dana Nessel in a rate case before the Michigan Public Service...
A move by Attorney General Dana Nessel in a rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) resulted in a settlement nearly 40% lower than the requested rate increase the Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation (MGUC) submitted.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 9:30 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A move by Attorney General Dana Nessel in a rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) resulted in a settlement nearly 40% lower than the requested rate increase the Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation (MGUC) submitted. Additionally, the agreement includes vital aid programs aimed at helping consumers.

Last week, the MPSC approved the $9.25 million settlement, $6 million less than MGUC’s original request of $15.1 million. The rate increase for customers is about 4.9% for residential customers compared to the requested 8.2% increase.

The approved settlement includes:

  • implementation of a new low-income senior bill assistance program that will provide bill credits of $6.50 a month;
  • a residential income allowance of $13 a month;
  • a low-income allowance credit of $30 a month; and
  • a $100,000 shareholder donation to give grants to customers at 150% of the federal poverty level to eliminate outstanding debt, which will be set up by the end of this month.

“I’m pleased with this settlement outcome, which both reduces the burden consumers will ultimately feel while implementing new assistance options,” said Nessel. “My office will continue to advocate for consumers in a way that prioritizes utility customers over company shareholders.”

MGUC filed its application for a natural gas rate increase before the MPSC in March. The company supplies natural gas service to around 181,000 customers across areas of the southern and western Lower Peninsula. The utility’s last rate increase was in 2015, meaning much of the increase is based on inflation and increases in labor force costs.

This settlement is Nessel’s latest campaign before the MPSC, which regulates the state’s utility companies.

In August, Nessel launched an online feedback initiative focused on the state’s power companies amid recent and prolonged outages.

The feedback form can be found on the Department’s homepage or by visiting directly here. As of Monday morning, the Department had received over 4,200 responses.

MPSC also announced actions that will better evaluate the state’s utilities.

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