Glenn: Electric choice fights for survival in Southwest Michigan

Categories: Glenn News,News

State Rep. Gary Glenn, chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, said today a recent order by the Michigan Public Service Commission allows for meaningful electric choice opportunities in areas of Southwest Michigan served by the Indiana Michigan Power Company.

Glenn (R-Williams Township) said the monopolistic utility is fighting the order, trying to obtain a new hearing to reset the capacity charges at a level that is more than double the amount deemed fair by the PSC.

Electric choice is an option provided under a Michigan law passed in 2000 which was supposed to allow customers the opportunity to save money on their electric bills by choosing an alternative energy supplier rather than a monopoly utility.

“The utility knows that if it can get the capacity charge set at an excessively high rate, it will kill competitive choice before it can even get off the ground,” Rep. Glenn said. “Indiana Michigan wants to make sure its customers remain captive to them and can’t shop on the open market to save money.”

The recent PSC decision set capacity charges at a level that paves the way for electric choice to be a viable, competitive option for residents (receiving a 20.84 percent rate increase), school districts (receiving a 18.37 percent rate increase) and general businesses (receiving a 24.68 percent rate increase for medium general service) in the utility’s service territory. The capacity charges are the portion of a customer’s bill where the utility is paid for costs it incurs to maintain generation capacity for the combined potential peak electricity usage by their customers plus customers of its alternative energy suppliers.

“It’s unfortunate that the utility is trying to use the regulatory process to defeat an opportunity that legislators wanted to create for the citizens and businesses in that area,” Rep. Glenn said. “As chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, I’ll keep a close eye on the utility’s request for a rehearing and its known indications to seek a potential appeal in the court system if a rehearing doesn’t go its way. It’s time for Southwest Michigan to have the same opportunities to shop in the electric market that are provided to the rest of the state.”