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ANTITRUST REVIEW REQUESTED OF CONSUMERS POWER

 ANTITRUST REVIEW REQUESTED OF CONSUMERS POWER
 WASHINGTON, March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Michigan Municipal Cooperative


Group (MMCG) utilities today asked the Federal Court of Appeals to order agency hearings on alleged antitrust violations by Consumers Power Company.
 The request was made in oral arguments to the Court of Appeals about Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders involving $900 million in short-term borrowings by Consumers Power and Consumers' proposed sale of its Palisades Nuclear Power Plant to a sister company. In these orders, FERC refused to consider antitrust challenges raised by MMCG. Today, MMCG asked the Court for an order requiring FERC to hold hearings on the antitrust implications of these orders.
 MMCG contends that Consumers Power has illegally used its control of high-voltage electric transmission lines to exclude lower-priced electricity.
 "Consumers has used its monopoly control of the transmission lines to prevent our utilities from buying power from the least expensive source," said Gary Zimmerman, a member of the MMCG Steering Committee. "With fair and reasonable transmission line access, we could obtain electricity from the least expensive utility, cogenerator or independent power producer, and not pay the artificially high prices created by Consumers' self-dealing."
 One of the FERC orders being appealed approved Consumers Power's application for $900 million in short-term borrowing. MMCG contends that Consumers Power will use the funds to strengthen its monopoly control over the state's transmission lines and that U.S. Supreme Court cases direct FERC to determine whether such borrowings might be used to violate the antitrust laws.
 Another FERC order being appealed involves Consumers Power's plan to sell its Palisades Nuclear Plant and related transmission lines to an affiliated company and then buy back all the electricity from the plant at artificially high prices. The high prices will be passed on to Consumers Power's customers, including municipal and cooperative utilities who purchase wholesale electricity from Consumer Power. For this reason and others, an administrative law judge at the Michigan Public Service Commission has recommended the transaction be rejected.
 MMCG is made up of municipal and cooperative utilities who serve more than 1 million people with electricity. MMCG member utilities have two general goals: To assure fair prices on electricity Consumers Power buys from its Midland Cogeneration Venture and Palisades Generating Company affiliates, and to assure fair access to Michigan's transmission lines.
 -0- 3/10/92
 /CONTACT: Gary Zimmerman of MMCG, 616-455-3679; or attorney Robert Jablon, 202-879-4000, for MMCG/
 (CMS) CO: Michigan Municipal Cooperative Group; Federal Energy Regulatory
 Commission; Consumers Power Company; CMS Energy Corporation ST: District of Columbia, Michigan IN: UTI OIL SU:


SM-KK -- DE004 -- 6766 03/10/92 09:58 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 10, 1992
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