MPSC Issues DTE DG Order

DTE’s New Distributed Generation Program has been approved by the MPSC as part of DTE’s broader $273 million rate increase. It’s the first program approved for utility customers who install solar and send excess power to the grid as Michigan transitions from traditional net metering.  The new program begins May 9, while existing net metering customers and those who file before May 9 will be grandfathered for 10 years from the date of their initial enrollment. A major issue centered on the compensation for customers who send unused power back to the grid. Net metering credits bills at the full retail rate of power. DTE proposed compensating customers at the wholesale rate of power, along with a roughly $15 monthly fee. The MPSC denied the company’s request to assess the monthly system access charge.  Clean energy groups have maintained that a monthly fee cannot be justified and the retail rate for credits is fair.  The MPSC landed roughly in the middle, approving an inflow/outflow mechanism that credits customers at the “power supply component” of the retail rate minus transmission charges, or 7.5 cents/kWh.  For a standard residential installation, the MPSC expects a $15,700 installation payback to take 13.3 years. The same system under net metering would take 9.4 years, while DTE’s original proposal would have taken 17.7 years.
MPSC Issue Brief
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