Michigan’s two largest utility companies–Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison–are hoping for double-digit increases in electrical rates. The utilities are hoping for rate increases through a new state law that allows for rate increases to be automatically implemented if the Public Service Commission–a state regulatory agency–doesn’t rule on the requests within six months. Both utilities put in rate increase requests late last year.
Under the increase, average utility bills would rise significantly. For Consumers Energy, the average bill would go from $89 per month to $99. For Detroit Edison customers, the average bill would increase from $63 to $70.
Three organizations–the Michigan League for Human Services, the Michigan Catholic Conference, and the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan–are urging the Public Service Commission to block the requests. The organizations say that the proposed increases would hurt the poor and vulnerable in Michigan who are already struggling due to the state’s high unemployment rate. Moreover, the organizations point out that the increases are not tied to plans to build new power plants or expand renewable energy.
Last year, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved rate increases that were less than a third of what the two utilities were seeking. Rates are also gradually going up for Michigan residents as a decades long policy of subsidizing residential rates is being phased out.