How to use this schedule:
1. Add your name to a date.
2. After you have completed your call on that date, indicate it in the Call Completed column.
3. If you want to incude any notes about your call (what you said, what type of response you received, etc) put them in the Notes column
Phone number for Michigan Public Service Commission office:
Share this sheet with this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19_2ufPxlYWbqj68ylz4s5gpgmhHsotcOAUCa0U9owi8/edit?usp=sharing
|Potential talking points:||"Hello, my name is [Name] and I am a resident of [town] and a DTE customer and a [your occupation if relevant]. I’m calling to express my concern with DTE’s proposed natural gas plant in East China, Michigan. The Michigan Public Service Commission has aknowledged glaring flaws in DTE's proposal including a 51 million dollar miscalculation of wind energy cost and the not building in time to get millions of dollars in federal tax credits for renewables. Furthermore MPSC has recognized that DTE used unfair calculations for solar energy costs, capacity and volatility in their proposal. (MPSC document recognizing flaws: https://mi-psc.force.com/sfc/servlet.shepherd/version/download/068t00000016bZV) These serial "miscalculations" indicate that DTE has biased thier analysis towards natural gas. DTE has a conflict of interest through its affliate company that co-owns the underutilized and subsequently revenue negative Nexus natural gas pipeline.(about conflict of interest: https://energynews.us/midwest/michigan-utilitys-gas-plant-pipeline-plans-pose-conflict-of-interest-critics-say/) MPSC duty is to ensure ratepayers get the cheapest energy possible and are not taken advantage of by unnecessary rate hikes. Without addressing this conflict of interest that explains why DTE is biased against a cheaper renewable energy portfolio, the MPSC must not approve this plan because it is an unnecessaily large rate hike of 33% which is in the thousands of dollars a year for many houses. MPSC must address these concerns or it may face a lawsuit for not serving in the best interest of ratepayers. This issue is so serious because many of DTE's ratepayers have to chose between paying for energy, food or medicine. Beyond legal reasons, natural gas is no longer the most prudent energy source. Other states like California deeply regret building expensive natural gas plants because they are now becoming stranded assests as top-down and bottom-up demand for low-carbon energy rapidly increases. Not only is the natural gas plant bad for the climate, but it would create one fourth the number of long-term jobs as solar and wind power plants. DTE and Michigan have the amazing opportunity to leap frog into an energy source that will make their state's economy more competive with economic leaders like California and New York. I encourage the Michigan Public Service Commission to act in the best interest of the ratepayers by preventing DTE from building this natural gas plant that poses a serious conflict of interest and will unnecessarily jack up ratepayers prices by $340 million dollars more than an equivalent amount of renewable energy sources." (analysis showing renewables would save ratepayers $340 million dollars: https://blog.ucsusa.org/sam-gomberg/dte-customers-could-save-340-million-with-clean-energy-compared-to-proposed-gas-plant)|
|Date to Call|
CCL Volunteer Name
|Mon, Mar 12, 2018||Chris Karounosfirstname.lastname@example.org||yes||After reading burning my eyeballs out reading all of MPSC proceedings that detail flaws in DTE's proposal and then seeing that MPSC's formal response that recognizes these flaws yet says they will approve the plan anyways without acknowleding the conflict of interest, I called Commissioner Sally Talberg's number which is publically available. I got her secretary, Amy, who eventually gave me this email email@example.com in case any one wants to leave a message for the commissioners who are clearly " protecting the public by ensuring safe, reliable, and accessible energy and telecommunications services at reasonable rates for Michigan's residents." and not being a pushover to DTE. One thing to note is that she asked me for the case number. Amy also told me that another way to make our complaints heard is to file an informal complaint under the "customer inquiries" button of their main website. I also talked to Drew through the number above who put in a public comment for me.||I also emailed this letter to the firstname.lastname@example.org although I regret not shortening it: "Dear MPSC commissioners Talberg, Saari, and Eubanks:"First of all, I want to thank you and your amazing staff for the work you all do as public servants. It is hard for me to imagine a world in which an energy provider monopoly is not supervised to ensure the best interest of the ratepayers who have no other choices. I am writing as both one of those ratepayers and a National Science Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. I have read hundreds of pages of MPSC proceedings and your subsequent official response. Like many others, I am appalled by that MPSC has simultaneously recognized the large flaws in DTE's proposal while also implying that this same erroneous and biased proposal will be approved early this week. Frankly, approving their plan before publically recognizing and investigating the conflict of interest that DTE has with an unregulated affiliate company that co-owns the NEXUS pipeline puts MPSC at risk of massive public backlash and even a lawsuit. Therefore to best serve the ratepayers and MPSC's own interests I strongly suggest that the commission does not approve DTE's proposal for a natural gas power plant and instead publically recognizes DTE's conflict of interest. Clearly, MPSC needs to prove that this conflict of interest could not be the reason for innumerable, unjustified and unanswered errors in calculating the cost of renewables in DTE's proposal which MPSC has publically recognized. DTE's proposal is asking ratepayers like myself to pay almost $1000 a year for the 7 cent rate hike associated with the natural gas plant construction. For many of DTE's customers that rate hike means choosing between food, medicine, and electricity. An analysis that is far more rigorous (which the MPSC has publically agreed with on many of its central points) has found that a distributed energy portfolio would save ratepayers $340 million dollars. This third party analysis needs to be taken very seriously or else MPSC will be facing negative media attention and an incredible public backlash. I only say this because I have personally been asked to go on public radio to talk about this and I have seen countless vehement reactions from other ratepayers, and public servants who find out about this MPSC case which until now has largely stayed under the radar. I know how incredibly busy you and your office are and I only hope that this information has been well worth your incredibly valuable time. Sincerely, Chris Karounos"|
|Mon, Mar 12, 2018||Ginny Rogersemail@example.com||Yes||I basically read this statement to the person who answered the phone, then he took my name, phone number and address and said he would submit my comments: |
"I’m calling with some comments about the new gas plant proposed by DTE.
I am a DTE customer.
I have concerns with this project and urge the MPSC to reject the proposal.
My concerns involve 3 different points:
First, My understanding is that the MPSC must make the decision based on what’s in the best interest for rate payers, and it sounds like this project does not meet this standard. Analyses by several groups showed that DTE’s cost analysis was flawed and that rate payers would save several hundred million dollars if DTE invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs rather than the gas plant. To me it sounds like saving millions of dollars would be in the best interest of customers.
Second, in my understanding, there is a huge potential conflict of interest due to DTE’s financial interest in natural gas and the Nexus pipeline
Third, a new natural gas plant locks us in to decades more of burning fossil fuels which is damaging to our health and our planet. Scientists say we have only a few years to quickly transition away from fossil fuels or else we will face catastrophic consequences from climate change.
For all of these reasons, I think it is the MPSC's obligation to deny DTE’s request."
|Mon, Mar 12, 2018||Barbara Lucasfirstname.lastname@example.org||yes|
|Mon, Mar 12, 2018||Richard Douglassemail@example.com|
|Mon, Mar 12, 2018||David Gurkfirstname.lastname@example.org||Yes||I spoke to "Meghan" and gave my little spiel. I said that Michigan has a reputation as an old Rust Belt state that holds onto old 19th and 20th century technologies while other states move ahead with newer, more modern technologies, and on that basis I was objecting to the proposal by DTE for their new natural gas power plant. I said that it would be a mistake to build a brand new natural gas power plant that would leave us dependent on fracked natural gas for the next 40 or 50 years. Rather, it would be better to embrace the future and move ahead to newer, cleaner, renewable energies like wind and solar. I mentioned that there is a potential conflict of interest for DTE with their co-ownership of an underutilized natural gas pipeline, and that that should be investigated before the project is approved. Meghan suggested that I send my concerns to the commission, either in writing or online. I took the information for their website. Since I had already spent a good amount of time detailing the bases for my objection, I asked if my concerns just verbally expressed would be passed on to the commision. She said, yes they would be logged. I pushed a bit more and asked if the specifics of what I stated would be passed on, and she said yes. I have my doubts. I didn't get the clear impression that she was taking notes. Anyway, following up with written statements online might be worthwhile.|
|Tue, Mar 13, 2018||Matt Lichtyemail@example.com|
|Tue, Mar 13, 2018||fern MacDougalfirstname.lastname@example.org||The guy I got really didn't know what to do with me for a while because he doesn't usually answer calls with comments from the public, I guess? Eventually he took down my comments which were assertions that rate hikes to finance this plant would not be justified, that DTE has a conflict of interest and has not fairly assest cost comparisons between renewables and gas, and that we should be building no new fossil fuel plants at all no matter how cheap they are in a context of climate change.|
|Tue, Mar 13, 2018||Rita Mitchellemail@example.com||Yes||I spoke with Drew. He registered my opposition, and read back the points I made about pollution at extraction and use of natural gas, the DTE conflict of interest, and the ongoing excessive expense that the ratepayers will bear. He took my address, and I expect that I will receive a follow up letter.|
|Tue, Mar 13, 2018||Edie Junofirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Wed, Mar 14, 2018|
|Wed, Mar 14, 2018|
|Wed, Mar 14, 2018|
|Thu, Mar 15, 2018|
|Thu, Mar 15, 2018|
|Fri, Mar 16, 2018||Hayley Currieremail@example.com||Yes||I missed the woman's name, but made my point clear that I am opposed ot the approval of the plan for the natural gas plant. I followed up with an email.|
|Fri, Mar 16, 2018||Mason Sharpfirstname.lastname@example.org||Yes||I called the commission and the person who answered the phone said his name was Justin. I asked him if the MPSC had made a decision on DTE's proposed power plant yet. He put me on hold to find out. I don't think he was able to figure it out though because didn't actually end up answering that question. However he said he would take my comment and file it as a "case comment" which could potentially be pulled up by the commission later. For the record this was my comment: "Hi. This is Mason. I am a resident of Ann Arbor and a DTE customer. I don't know if the Michigan Public Service Commission has made a decision to approve or reject DTE's proped natural gas plant in East China, MI yet, but if it is still relevant I would like to urge the commission to reject the proposed plant. I recently attended an Ann Arbor Energy Commission meeting and at the meeting a resolution was passed by the commission to reject the power plant. The commission has more political clout than I do, but I would like to use my voice to support the resolution. I do this on the basis that if the natural gas plant is built it has the potential to contribute decades of greenhouse gas emmissions to our atmosphere. This may be completely unnecessary. It can be argued that there are economically viable and perhaps superior alternatives in renewable energy. A number of groups including The Environmental Law and Policy Center, Vote Solar, The Ecology Center, and the Solar Energy Industries Association show that a combination of additional renewable energy, energy efficiency and demand response can meet DTE's needs at a lower cost while supporting more economic development and contributing to a more diverse, lower risk resource portfolio for DTE customers. I urge the MPSC to take this opportunity to reject the plant and nudge DTE to push the envelope as much as it can on clean energy for the sake of the environment and for economic reasons as well."|
|Fri, Mar 16, 2018||Tom Lyonemail@example.com||Yes||I called the Commission and got Justin. I told him I was calling regarding docket U-18419, and that the Staff's Initial Brief indicated an unusually large number of deficiencies on the part of DTE's filing. As a result, the Commission should NOT pre-approave any portion of the investment because DTE has not established that the plant is the most reasonable and prudent option. If it really is the most prudent option, then that will be proven by the future performance of the plant, so there is no need to pre-approve rate recovery. Instead the company should bear the full burden of the risks of the plant.|
|Mon, Mar 19, 2018||Nancy Stollfirstname.lastname@example.org||Yes||I called too late to get a person and I left my name and a message instead. I said that I think we should be investing in infrastructure for sustainable energy and not for fossil fuels. I asked them to deny DTE's request to build a new gas plant and quoted the case number. I plan to email them also.|
|4/9/2018||Samuel Stolperemail@example.com||Yes||I gave my verbal comment to Meghan. It follows the comment that I submitted via email, except that I additionally pointed to DTE's as-yet unexplained conflict of interest through its stake in the Nexus pipeline and its utter neglect to solicit cost information (price bids) from potential renewable developers in Michigan. Below is my emailed comment:
"I am writing to submit a comment on the Michigan Public Service Committee's upcoming decision regarding DTE's proposed 1100-MW natural gas plant in East China Township. If the MPSC approves DTE's Certificate-of-Necessity (CON) for this plant without further analysis or consideration, it will without question be failing to uphold its mission.
As stated on its website, the MPSC has a mission to "protect the public by ensuring safe, reliable, and accessible energy and telecommunications services at reasonable rates for Michigan's residents." DTE is a regulated monopoly whose mission statement clearly prioritizes shareholders above Michigan residents. The MPSC is quite literally the only line of defense for Michigan residents.
A massive amount of human welfare is at stake. This decision will have major consequences for decades' worth of utility bills for millions of Michiganders. Just as importantly, jobs, environmental health, and human health are in the balance. There is zero justification for rushing this decision, and zero justification for approving the CON without requiring the more complete, more accurate analysis that the MPSC has already acknowledged to be currently lacking in DTE's request.
I am not lobbying for an immediate moratorium on new natural gas generation capacity. I am simply asking -- imploring -- the MPSC to make a decision based on full information and its mission to protect the public. Approving DTE's CON would be the easy way out, and an unforgivable public service failure."