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Michigan House Bill 4298 Undermines Electric Choice

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The amended version of Michigan HB 4298 (H-3) energy legislation was introduced late last week. A slightly amended version of that was released Tuesday – in a nutshell, this legislation does not protect electric choice for Michigan’s energy consumers. 

The revised language includes poison pill provisions that would directly undermine choice through excessive capacity requirements for suppliers and customers. It would require the Michigan Public Service Commission to create a resource adequacy and reliability requirement that applies strictly to retail energy suppliers based on load served each October.

Regardless of the actual final requirement, suppliers would have to procure capacity for their customer for the upcoming year plus an additional four years, no matter the contract length.  In other words, a customer on a two-year agreement would have to buy capacity for five years.  Or, even worse, a customer who has a contract expiring in December would still have a capacity purchase in their contract going five years beyond. Finally, if the customer returns they would be subject to specific costs and requirements by the utility that could further and dramatically increase costs. 

Direct Energy Business was hopeful that this legislation would legitimately protect the 10 percent of the market on electric choice – but it does not.  This is simply a re-write of the same bad policies and poison pill provisions that eliminates customers right to choose.

A vote on HB 4298 is currently set for Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. – less than 24 hours after receiving language legislators will vote. Please contact your legislator and ask them to protect electric choice by voting NO on HB 4298.

Posted: November 03, 2015