LANSING — A number of decisions from the Michigan Public Service Commission, known as MPSC, went through last week concerning We Energies and the role they play in the Upper Peninsula.
The MPSC approved the merger of We Energies with Integrys Energy Group. The merger will transfer control of the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation and Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation to We Energies. We says that no Michigan customer retail rates will be increased as a result of the deal, which they are looking to close within the second half of the year.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already approved the acquisition,” said Barry McNulty, Director of Corporate Communications for We Energies. “Now, what we require is the approval by public service in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota as well. We expect that to occur possibly beginning as early as this week and that running through July.”
Approval of the special contracts between We Energies and the Tilden and Empire mines was also granted. In addition to keeping the Presque Isle Power Plant operating until 2020, having the contracts approved gives We Energies time to research and look toward the U.P.’s energy future.
“It basically allows for the construction of a new natural gas power plant on the Cliffs mining or Cliffs resources property in the future in Marquette County to serve their needs as well as other, hopefully other utility customers, so we have time to plan for that. We have time to research what is necessary, what’s needed, and if we’re not the ones building it, perhaps someone else will. We may elect to be an investor in that project as well,” said McNulty.
In addition to these approvals, the MPSC also directed We Energies to cease billing Verso Paper Corporation for standby energy associated with a maintenance period in 2012.