UPPCO customers to see rate decrease

UPPCO customers to see rate decrease

LANSING, MI — [UPDATE — Thursday September 8th, 2016, 8:24 p.m.]

As a result of the MPSC’s ruling, UPPCO’s Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Keith Moyle issued the following statement:

“UPPCO will continue to make the investments required to provide safe and reliable service for our customers. These investments include improvements to our distribution system and the clearing of tree limbs and brush to increase reliability.”

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today authorized Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCo) to increase its electric rates by $4,647,975 annually, a figure 30.4 percent below what the utility requested. Also, because the final amount approved today is lower than the $6,259,025 the utility self-implemented in March, customers will see a rate decrease, effective Sept. 23. By state law, customers will also get a refund of the difference between what the utility self-implemented and the MPSC granted, plus interest, in the future.

UPPCo sought a rate increase of at least $6,681,312 annually.

As a result of the order today (Case No. U-17895), residential customers using 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will see an increase of $7.63 (6.81 percent) on their monthly bills over rates set in the last rate case, which was in December 2013.

On Sept. 23, residential customers will see a rate decrease of 65 cents, compared to what they have been paying since March, when the utility self-implemented a rate increase that was higher than what the MPSC approved today.

The total amount approved today represents an increase of 4.47 percent over the rates set in its previous electric rate case (Case No. U-17274).

Here’s what MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari said about the UPPCO Case:

“My vote on the UPPCO electric rate order comes after serious deliberation and review of the case record with the utility’s request and intervenor concerns, and after the receipt of the hundreds of expressions in the mail and e-mail from citizens of the Upper Peninsula.

I believe the Commission has reached a fair and balanced decision in this case. However, this case has also shown that UPPCO needs to significantly improve its communication with the 54,000 or so Upper Peninsula households and businesses it serves. UPPCO needs to better explain its cost of providing electric service. It needs to listen and be responsive to the concerns of its customers.
UPPCO is still developing and implementing a customer service program in its relatively new status as a stand-alone utility.

The views we have heard from a large number of its customers seem to clearly indicate that UPPCO needs to hear these concerns. The retirees and hard working men and women are clearly angered and frustrated that electric bills are a very large part of their monthly family budget.

The new requirement for UPPCO to submit tracker reports to the Commission will give us a closer, ongoing opportunity to monitor their spending programs. We will closely watch UPPCO’s operations to make sure the utility provides the quality of service its customers expect, while also urging the company to operate in a cost conscious manner.”

(Information Courtesy of the Michigan Public Service Commission)