Michigan adopts power code of conduct

Dec. 6, 2000—In preparation for restructuring of the electricity market, the Michigan Public Service Commission adopted a code of conduct for electric utilities regulated by the commission and for all alternative electric suppliers.

Under the order, electricity suppliers must file a compliance plan with the commission within 90 days.

The code of conduct is intended to promote fair competition by establishing measures to prevent cross-subsidization, information sharing, and preferential treatment between a utility’s regulated and unregulated services, whether those services are provided by the utility or the company’s affiliated entities.

The order requires Michigan’s electric utilities and alternative electric suppliers to comply with the code of conduct provisions, including:

• Functioning in a manner to prevent anticompetitive behavior, by requiring the offering of unregulated services or products through one or more affiliates or other entities within the existing corporate structure, such as divisions.

• Not subsidizing in any manner the business of its affiliates or other separate entities.

• Maintaining books and records separately from those of affiliates.

• Not financing or cosigning loans for affiliates.

• Not conditioning or tying utility service or the availability of discounts, rates, other charges, fees, rebates, or waivers of terms and conditions to taking goods or services from an affiliate.

• Not unduly discriminating in favor of or against any party, including preferential treatment or any other advantages not offered under the same terms and conditions available to other suppliers offering services or products within the same service territory or to customers of those suppliers.

• Not sharing information obtained by the electric utility gathered as a result of its regulated business with its affiliates or other separate entities, unless that same information is provided to competitors operating in Michigan on the same terms and conditions at the same time.

The action is required under the Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act adopted June 5.