MPSC May Rule On MichCon Hike

May 20, 2002
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LANSING — The Michigan Public Service Commission may rule late this week on a request that Michigan Consolidated Gas made in August for an increase of nearly 54 percent in its gas rate.

If the MPSC were to approve the change during its Thursday, Dec. 20 meeting, the new rate of $4.54 per thousand cubic feet would go into effect Jan. 1.

Natural gas rates have been frozen for three years at $2.95, but the freeze ends at midnight Dec. 31.

But even though the freeze is ending, gas suppliers may not increase rates without giving the MPSC a chance to review the proposed increases. At this point, the MPSC may approve the rate or set one that’s lower than the rate MichCon seeks.

In 1998 the MPSC froze MichCon’s gas rates in connection with its order that established the company’s gas customer choice program.

Public Act 304 of 1982 established the periodic review of the cost of gas paid by Michigan gas customers and permitted natural gas companies to self-implement up to the requested gas cost factor three months following the filing, unless the Commission conducts a review and issues a ruling before Jan. 1. 

MPSC’s staff, MichCon, the Residential Ratepayers Consortium, Attorney General Jennifer M. Granholm, and the Michigan Community Action Agency Association are participating in the proceeding.

MichCon is a subsidiary of DTE Energy and provides natural gas service to about 1.2 million Michigan customers, many of them residing in this region.

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