MARQUETTE — An administrative law judge presiding over a federal case says that We Energies has been overcharging ratepayers to run and operate the Presque Isle Power Plant.

The judge’s decision was announced late Monday afternoon by the Michigan Agency for Energy.

ABC 10 received this statement from Cloverland Electric:

Cloverland Electric Cooperative is pleased with the administrative law judge’s initial decision announced recently that the costs to keep the Presque Isle Power Plant open in Marquette were “unjust and unreasonable.”

“Cloverland Electric along with other organizations in Michigan has been making the case at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for two years now that these costs were not fair and could not be justified,” states Dan Dasho, president and CEO. “The judge proposed a refund, but for Cloverland members, this just reduces the costs we will have to pay over the next several months. The judge’s decision is one positive step in the legal process that allows the case to continue. A final decision by FERC may not come until later this year.”

“While this is great news, it does not fix the problem,” states Dasho. “What has not been mentioned is the reason we are even in this situation. This process started in 2008 after the Legislature approved a special exemption for the iron ore mines in Marquette to move 100 percent of their electric load to an alternate electric supplier. That exemption is still in Senate Bill 437 which could allow the mines to leave again. If that happens, the U.P. could be financially responsible for a new $300 million gas-fired plant scheduled to be built by 2020. Our senators and representative supports our position on this, but the Governor’s administration is refusing to have this exemption removed and finally protect all the ratepayers in the Upper Peninsula.“

Cloverland Electric is asking members to continue to talk to our state senators, representatives and the Governor’s office to remove this disastrous language.

ABC 10 received this statement from We Energies (WEC):

“We are still reviewing the ALJ recommendation and will provide comment to the FERC at the appropriate time.”