Michigan officials sign off on special electric rates to retain, attract EV industry
State officials recently approved special discounted rates for industrial customers of Michigan’s two largest electric utilities, an effort to keep manufacturing here and encourage more economic development.
The Michigan Public Service Commission last week approved requests from both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy for special rates for high-volume industrial customers. The goal is to bolster the state’s ability to compete for electric vehicle production opportunities and other high-tech manufacturing, officials said.
The utility companies in November applied for the special rates not just for EV producers, but also electric battery storage, semiconductor, chip, and other high-tech manufacturers. Officials said they also want to encourage existing industry to remain in Michigan as technology changes and power needs increase.
Brian Rich, Consumers Energy’s chief customer officer, said the company appreciates the MPSC’s quick approval of the special industrial power rates. He said they want to “go the extra mile to bring new jobs to Michigan.”
The company – the state’s largest energy provider – said in its rate application officials knew of 10 projects for which Michigan was actively being considered, to the tune of $65 billion in investment and about 21,000 new jobs.
Consumers officials argued rather than negotiating with each additional industrial customer, the new rate category for energy-intensive customers would be attractive for manufacturers who need incremental electric loads at a minimum 35 megawatts on at least 15-year contracts. The company was previously authorized by the MPSC to offer two similar special rate programs for industry and intensive users.
The MPSC also signed off on DTE Electric’s request for a high-load rate for current or advanced manufacturers like those setting up EV production lines. That special rate would be for large-volume customers that add incremental loads of 50 megawatts, also on at least 15-year contracts.