Bills remove barriers, encourage alternative energy supply
Homeowners, schools, hospitals, job providers and taxpayers would benefit from lower electric bills through state Rep. Gary Glenn’s energy policy legislation that would increase energy choice and competition in Michigan, the representative said at a news conference this morning.
Rep. Glenn, vice chair of the House Committee on Energy Policy, unveiled the package with House colleagues and various officials from some of Michigan’s largest companies, small-business owners, job providers, employees and educators. His legislation offers an alternative to current Senate and House bills that seek to eliminate energy choice in the state.
“Seven years ago, Lansing mandated that 90 percent of the electricity market be given to two utility companies, and we’ve all been paying the price ever since,” said Rep. Glenn, R-Midland. “During that time, there are at least 11,000 Michigan customers who have been waiting for years to enjoy the benefits of electric choice, which would save them $235 million each year.
“Now, Senate Bill 437 would result in the elimination of the final 10 percent of electric choice, devastating the over 6,400 Michigan consumers, public schools, large and small businesses, hospitals, and nonprofits who have saved over $400 million through the choice option.”
Rep. Glenn’s legislation not only maintains the electric choice program in Michigan, but expands participation to local school districts, colleges and universities along with other state and local government entities, profit and nonprofit hospitals and inpatient health-care facilities, those purchasing renewable energy and Michigan families/residential customers.
The centerpiece of the package allows all public schools, colleges, hospitals and other taxpayer-funded services to save tax dollars by joining the energy choice market without it counting against the arbitrary 10 percent energy choice cap imposed in 2008. Making this change will help these entities to save hundreds of millions of dollars on electricity every year, while also freeing up their share of the 10 percent choice market so additional private sector customers presently on the waiting list can participate in the program savings.
His legislation also requires electric utilities to utilize a transparent, competitive bid and supply planning process.
“Despite what Michigan’s utilities and those who support a monopoly for them would have you believe, arriving at the best energy policy for Michigan is not overly complicated or complex,” Rep. Glenn said. “In my district, Bay City schools save $200,000 a year on electricity expenses, but every school in Midland County is prohibited by law from accessing the same savings; similarly, Saginaw Valley State University saves $200,000 a year, while Delta and Northwood colleges are prohibited.”
Individual bills representing Rep. Glenn’s energy package are expected to be introduced over the coming weeks.
Rep. Glenn can be contacted toll free at 1-855-GLENN98; by email at GaryGlenn@house.mi.gov; online at RepGaryGlenn.com; or by mail at Anderson House Office Building, S-1287, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.