Benishek calls for delays to increase U.P. utility rates

Courtesy: Dr. Dan Benishek’s Office

IRON MOUNTAIN — Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) contacted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Tuesday regarding the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) application to FERC for approval of new cost allocations that will reflect the new local balancing authority (LBA) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP).

“The proposed increases and the process in which this is occurring is simply unacceptable.  Families, schools, businesses-basically anyone who lives and works in the UP could be looking at a big rate increase as soon as December 1, without gaining any sort of benefit,” said Dr. Benishek.  “FERC must be willing to address this issue in a manner that is fair and recognizes historical precedent and agreements regarding the shared responsibility among energy consumers in an entire system.”

Changes in cost allocations are a result of the splitting of the LBA for Wisconsin and the UP along state lines.  This may result in UP energy users being subject to approximately 99% of the cost of new cost allocations of the system-support resources. The Michigan Public Service Commission has a pending complaint with FERC regarding this decision.

“I will be working with all stakeholders and local policy makers until a solution to this problem is found,” added Dr. Benishek. “We have to deal with the immediate rate increase, while also focusing on a long-term solution to the unique energy needs of the UP, which have been dealt an incredible blow by the increasing costs and regulatory regime forcing the closure of coal fired plants in our area.”

Dr. Benishek was born and currently lives in the Upper Peninsula. Prior to being elected to Congress he practiced medicine for 30 years in Iron Mountain. The letter sent to Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur is attached.