Regulatory Updates by Region

Michigan Businesses: Take Action to Support Electric Choice

There is a lot going on in regards to debates in support of and against electric choice in Michigan. Currently, there is a 10 percent cap on electric choice in the state for businesses.

On April 13, a representative from Direct Energy testified before the Michigan House Energy Committee to oppose House Bill 4298 introduced by Energy Committee Chairman Aric Nesbitt. The legislation has one purpose: to repeal electric choice in Michigan.

States with choice have seen  building new generation, offering customers more options and the potential for lower prices. Customers in Michigan are paying higher costs for energy than similar customers in states, such as Illinois, where prices are up to 40 percent less, according to available offers on the pluginillinois.gov website.  However, the recent Energy Committee hearing seemed to focus on capacity, which is a Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO)  issue and not an electric choice issue.  Even the utilities acknowledged in the Committee hearing that suppliers must meet the same capacity requirements for load as the utility.

While the House wants to repeal electric choice, the Senate has two bills with the intent of keeping electric choice, or in the case of Senate Bill 235, sponsored by Senator Mike Shirkey, fully opening the electric market.

Governor Rick Snyder has weighed in with a plan to allow 10 percent of customers to have electric choice, but would have retail suppliers provide capacity guarantees beyond the amount of load they serve. Despite retail suppliers meeting reserve margin requirements, this could place conditions on retail suppliers that the utilities themselves do not need to meet, which could force customers on electric choice to buy more capacity than they need -- effectively killing choice in Michigan.

This is an important issue with impacts to both customers receiving electric choice and those who are currently prohibited from using electric choice.   Businesses need to become involved and support their right to electric choice. There are many ways to do this including meeting with local legislators, testifying, or writing an email.

If you would like to become involved, please take action and let the House know you are in favor of electric choice. Through the provided web link, you can also learn how to become more involved in Energy Choice Now’s efforts to open electric choice.


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