Renewable energy surcharge disappearing from utility customer bills

Jan 2, 2016

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A surcharge paid by Michigan utility customers for electricity generated by wind and solar energy is disappearing.

With the new year, DTE Energy Customers will no longer pay a 43-cent monthly fee for renewable energy. The state’s largest utility, Consumers Energy, dropped the fee last year.

“That’s reflecting the falling cost of renewable energy, and customers are benefitting from that,” says Judy Palnau with the Michigan Public Service Commission, the state’s utility-regulating agency. She says utilities initially charged as much as $3 per meter under a 2008 state law that encouraged utilities to use more renewable resources to generate electricity.

“Wind turbines, the ones that are being used today, are a lot more efficient than the ones even from 2008.”

The Legislature is in the process of re-writing Michigan’s energy policies, which includes debating different plans to encourage expanded use of renewable fuels to generate electricity.