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Environmental coalition calls for commission to reject Consumers Energy efficiency and renewables plan

Utility proposes clean energy costs that are 60 percent higher than neighboring Detroit Edison
Apr 29, 2009
Leading environmental organizations filed a brief today calling for the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject the energy efficiency and renewable energy plan filed by Consumers Energy. The groups argue the plan costs consumers too much and the energy efficiency plan does not do enough to reduce customers' bills.

The coalition of groups that include the Michigan Environmental Council, Ecology Center, the Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Natural Resources Defense Council have been active participants in the PSC review of the plan during the last 60 days.

“It’s a sad and ironic day when Consumers Energy finally submits a plan that is supposed to deliver such great consumer and environmental benefits to its customers, and the plan is so flawed that the environmental community has to oppose it,” said James Clift, Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council. “At a time when we face the threat of global warming and consumers are struggling to pay their bills, we have to get this right.”

The brief argues that Consumers prices renewable energy far too high, placing an unreasonable burden on ratepayers. The environmental coalition emphasizes that Consumers' renewable energy plan asks ratepayers to pay 60% more for renewable energy than neighboring Detroit Edison has proposed in its plan ($174/MWh versus $108 per MWh).

On the energy efficiency front, Consumers admits that greater spending would save ratepayers $3.50 for every $1 spent, but refuses to spend more because saving ratepayers money isn’t in the best interest of its shareholders.

“This is where we need the Public Service Commission to perform the duty they were created for – protect ratepayers from excessive rates,” said Mike Shriberg, Policy Director, Ecology Center. “These programs are designed to help people remain in their homes and keep their businesses open, but Consumers Energy refuses to fund them.”

The Commission must approve or reject Consumers Energy’s program within the next few weeks. The coalition has made recommendations on the programs that would make them acceptable and requested that the Commission order the company to make such changes.
James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council: 517-256-0553
Mike Shriberg, Ecology Center: 734-761-3186 x108
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