On November 24, 2020, advocates submitted comments in the Michigan Public Service Commission’s docket U-20757 on the COVID-19 pandemic. These comments lay out a set of 7 principles the Commission should adopt and 10 actions the Commission should take in order to prioritize energy affordability and integrate it across MPSC decision-making.
Although these comments were submitted in response to the Commission’s stated interest in energy affordability and consumer protections related to the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates lay out a vision for treating energy affordability as being vital at ALL times:
“Access to affordable utilities is a human right: the Commission has a responsibility to ensure reasonable energy rates for all and to end involuntary shut-offs. This requires the adoption of a comprehensive, holistic approach to addressing energy affordability across topics and dockets going forward. The need for this holistic approach has been evident since far before the COVID-19 crisis began and will continue to be necessary on a permanent basis.”
In these comments, the advocates also seek to shift the Commission from a paradigm of energy assistance to the needed paradigm of energy affordability.
The U-20757 docket remains open, with a report on energy affordability and consumer protections expected to be posted to the docket by Michigan Public Service Commission Staff by December 15, 2020.
The primary authors of these comments are Bridget Vial with the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition and Annika (Brink) Brindel with the National Housing Trust. Signers are: Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, National Housing Trust, Ecology Center, Eco Works, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Soulardarity, and We Want Green Too