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Regulators Approve Costs of Shutting Down Coal Fired Power Plants

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(MPRN-Lansing) State energy regulators have approved a rate increase for customers of one of Michigan’s largest utilities – in part to pay for operating and then closing soon-to-retire coal-fired power plants. 

Federal clean air rules will force utilities to close nine coal-fired power plants in Michigan. Seven of them are owned by Jackson-based Consumers Energy.

Judy Palnau with the Public Service Commission says rates for customers of Consumers’ customers will go down again once the coal plants are shut down:

“That’s something that customers are paying for, but come April of next year, the rates will be reduced to reflect the retirement of those plants.”

Palnau says the utility is also approved to buy an existing natural gas plant, which will be less expensive to operate than a coal plant. Detroit Edison is also closing two coal plants.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is engaged in a debate on how to best meet Michigan’s future energy needs without the coal plants.

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