LANSING – We Energies has asked the Midcontinent Independent System Operator to stop System Support Resource payments for the continued operation of the Presque Isle Power Plant in the Upper Peninsula, a move applauded by Governor Rick Snyder for saving customers potentially millions in charges.
“We Energies and Cliffs are to be commended for reaching this agreement that will end system support resource payments for the Upper Peninsula as of February 1, and they both have my thanks and that of the entire Upper Peninsula,” Snyder said in a statement.
The deal builds upon an earlier agreement in January among various utilities in the U.P.
Snyder’s office said the deal between We Energies and Cliffs Natural resources cements their commitment to working on a larger deal. The disputes over previous SSR payments imposed on Michigan and Wisconsin consumers is still pending with FERC and are on the Public Service Commission’s docket for discussion this week.
Cloverland Electric also expressed its support for the decision by We Energies.
“This is great news for the eastern U.P., and we would like to thank everyone who has stepped in to help provide a long term solution for reliable energy in the U.P.” said Cloverland CEO Dan Dasho in a statement. “However, we remain deeply concerned about the remaining $4.6 million in payments from December and January that have not yet been taken off the table and the impact it will have on families and businesses in our region.”
Dasho, according to his statement, feared the remaining $4.6 million would be “detrimental” to the eastern U.P. economy.
“We’re in the middle of heating season and energy use and costs are at their peak. The added SSR payments will be an unfair burden that adds to these costs,” Dasho said. “The paper mill in Manistique, FutureMark Papers, is still facing more than $200,000 per month in increased costs for the two months of SSR payments. War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie is looking at about $16,000 a month and the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians – about $60,000 a month.
“We are worried about how these increased costs will impact these organizations as well as the rest of our members,” he said.
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