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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Michigan Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (8-MI-c)

In Michigan, the Electric Transmission Line Certification Act provides siting guidance for transmission projects. Under the Electric Transmission Line Certification Act, a developer may need to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) in order to construct a major transmission line. A “major transmission line” is a transmission line of 5 miles or more in length that is wholly or partially owned by an electric utility, affiliated transmission company, or independent transmission company and through which electricity is transferred at system bulk supply voltage of 345 kilovolts or more. MCL § 460.562; MCL § 460.565. Note: A developer may also apply to the MPSC to obtain a CPCN for a proposed transmission line other than a major transmission line. MCL § 460.569. If the MPSC grants the developer a CPCN, the CPCN takes precedence over any conflicting local ordinance, law, rule, regulation, policy, or practice that prohibits or regulates the location or construction of a transmission line. MCL § 460.570.


Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Process

8-MI-c.1 – Construction Plan

To obtain a CPCN, the developer must first submit a construction plan to the MPSC. The construction plan must include the following:

  • The general location and size of all major transmission lines to be constructed in the 5 years after planning commences;
  • Copies of relevant bulk power transmission information filed by the electric utility, affiliated transmission company, or independent transmission company with any state or federal agency, national electric reliability coalition, or regional electric reliability coalition;
  • Additional information required by MPSC rule or order that directly relates to the construction plan.

At the same time, the developer must provide a copy of the construction plan to each municipality in which construction of the planned major transmission line is intended. MCL § 460.564.

8-MI-c.2 – Contact Chief Elective Officials and Hold Public Meetings

After submitting the construction plan to the MPSC, and before the developer files an application with the MPSC, the developer must schedule and hold a public meeting in each municipality affected by the developer’s proposal. In the 60 days before each public meeting is held, the developer must write to the chief elective official of each municipality, offering to meet to discuss the developer’s desire to construct a major transmission line and to explore the routes to be considered. MCL § 460.566.

8-MI-c.3 – Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Application

To obtain a CPCN, the developer must file an application with the MPSC. The application must include the following:

  • The planned date for beginning construction;
  • A detailed description of the proposed major transmission line, its route, and its expected configuration and use;
  • A description and evaluation of one or more alternate major transmission line routes and a statement of why the proposed route was selected;
  • If a zoning ordinance prohibits or regulates the location or development of any portion of a proposed route, a description of the location and manner in which that zoning ordinance prohibits or regulates the location or construction of the proposed route;
  • The estimated overall cost of the proposed major transmission line;
  • Information supporting the need for the proposed major transmission line, including identification of known future wholesale users of the proposed major transmission line;
  • Estimated public benefits of the proposed transmission line;
  • Estimated private benefits of the proposed transmission line to the developer or any legal entity affiliated with the developer;
  • Information addressing potential effects of the proposed major transmission line on public health and safety;
  • A summary of all comments received at each public meeting and the developer’s response to those comments;
  • Information indicating that the proposed major transmission line will comply with all applicable state and federal environmental standards, laws, and rules;
  • Other information reasonably required by the MPSC pursuant to rule.

MCL § 460.567.

The MPSC may also assess an application fee to cover the MPSC’s administrative costs in processing the application and may require the developer to hire consultants chosen by the MPSC to assist the MPSC in evaluating any issues the application raises. MCL § 460.568(3).

8-MI-c.4 to 8-MI-c.5 – Review Application for Completeness

MPSC will review the Application materials for completeness.

8-MI-c.6 – Publish Public Notice

Once the developer’s application is complete, the developer must publish public notice of an opportunity to comment on the application in a newspaper of general circulation in the area to be affected. The developer must also send notice of the application to each affected municipality and each affected landowner on whose property a portion of the proposed transmission line will be constructed. MCL § 460.568.

8-MI-c.7 – Conduct Public Hearing

The MPSC conducts a public proceeding on the application as a contested case under the Administrative Procedures Act – MCL §§ 24.201 to 24.328. All affected municipalities and landowners are granted full intervenor status as of right, allowing them to participate and comment in MPSC proceedings concerning proposed major transmission lines. MCL § 460.568(2).

8-MI-c.8 to 8-MI-c.9 – Does the MPSC Grant the Developer’s Application?

The MPSC must grant or deny the application no later than one year after the application filing date. If a party proposes an alternative route for the transmission line, the MPSC may approve the developer’s proposed route or the alternative route. The MPSC may condition its approval upon the developer taking action to assure the public convenience, health, and safety, and reliability of the transmission line. MCL § 460.568(4). The MPSC will approve the developer’s application if the MPSC determines all of the following:

  • The public benefits of the proposed transmission line justify its construction;
  • The proposed or alternative route is feasible and reasonable;
  • The proposed transmission line does not present an unreasonable threat to public health or safety; and
  • The developer has accepted the conditions contained in a conditional grant.

MCL § 460.568(5).

8-MI-c.10 to 8-MI-c.11 – Hold Public Commission Meeting

Once the MPSC has made a determination on whether or not to approve the developer’s request for a CPCN, the MPSC holds a public Commission Meeting to discuss its decision. The MPSC then issues a final order.

8-MI-c.12 – Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

If the MPSC approves the developer’s request, the MPSC will issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to the developer.

8-MI-c.13 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)

An interested party may appeal the MPSC’s decision in accordance with Section 26 of the 1909 PA 300, MCL 462.26. MCL § 460.575.




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