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Image source: BayCounty-mi.gov

LANSING – The Michigan Jobs & Energy Coalition (MJEC) said it opposes new proposed legislation that helps out-of-state energy companies line their pockets at the expense of Michigan electric customers.

MJEC said the bills, House Bill 5503 and Senate Bill 1035, if enacted into law, would dismantle Michigan’s successful 2008 energy policy to allow more out-of-state energy companies into the state’s energy market.

This would cost most Michigan electric customers up to $900 million more per year by 2016, according to an analysis of data compiled by the Michigan Public Service Commission, MJEC also said.

“This legislation will jeopardize Michigan’s ability to generate power in the future. As new generation capacity is needed to support Michigan families and businesses, these bills assumethat out-of-state energy companies will always do what’s right for our state,” said Patrick Devlin, secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council and an MJEC member.

“This change in our energy policy would be a huge risk for Michigan’s economy. Additionally, don’t believe this won’t cost customers anything. Many Michigan electric customers would see their bills increase if these are passed,” Devlin also said.

Michigan’s energy policy, which currently allows up to 10 percent of the energy market to be served by out-of-state energy companies, was established to protect customers from shouldering more than their fair share of fixed energy costs.

Fixed energy costs include the investment the state’s hometown utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, have already made to provide affordable, reliable power to all Michigan residents.

Michigan’s energy policy was reviewed last fall by the state’s Senate energy and technology committee. After six weeks of hearing, committee chairman Sen. Mike Nofs publicly stated the energy policy was working as intended and there was no need for any change to the policy’s 10 percent limit on out-of-state energy companies.

The 2008 energy policy diversified Michigan’s energy portfolio to help create a balanced approach to energy production. Since 2008, more than $4 billion in investments have been made in the state’s energy infrastructure, such as renewable energy projects and power plant upgrades.

This has helped provide greater reliability and has guarded against market price volatility for Michigan customers, MJEC said.

MJEC supports the timely implementation of the state’s 2008 comprehensive energy law, the construction of new base-load power plants and renewable energy facilities and energy policies that create jobs and improve Michigan’s economy.

MJEC is comprised of Michigan’s major utilities, electric cooperatives and municipal electricity providers; major business organizations and industrial customers; labor organizations; economic development interests; and renewable energy and energy efficiency advocates and many others.