Michigan Electric Choice bill introduced may reduce costs

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Electricity customers in Michigan have a challenge if they want to contract with a competitive electricity supplier.  This is because Michigan has a cap on the number of customers that are permitted to use a competitive supplier.  That may change is Mike Shirkey has his way.

Michigan State Rep. Mike Shirkey has introduced legislation to remove the 10 percent cap on electric choice.

A news release said that House Bill 5184 would also, “open Michigan’s electricity market to full competition.”

State Rep. Mike Shirkey’s bill would create a fully competitive retail electricity market in Michigan, which would end the monopoly-style system that economists claim has cost Michigan job providers and families $3 billion since 2008.  The Michigan Electric Customer Freedom Act will deliver more affordable electric service and more tools to manage energy costs to Michigan customers in a safe and reliable manner, saving companies and families hundreds of millions on their electricity bills each year.

“In 2012, Governor Snyder called on policymakers to begin the process of crafting reforms and improvements to Michigan’s current energy law,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Nowhere is reform more critical than in empowering Michiganders with the freedom to cost-compare before choosing their own electricity supplier.

“Giving Michigan job makers and families a fully competitive retail electricity market will lower rates, help families manage and save on their energy costs, and ensure that customers who want to purchase ‘green’ energy have every chance to do it as cost effectively as possible.”

House Bill 5184 would remove the 10 percent cap on electric choice and open Michigan’s electricity market to full competition.  This measure also provides robust protections for our critically important utilities as Michigan navigates from its hybrid model to a fully competitive model.

Since 2008, Michigan’s monopoly-style energy policy, which is a byzantine hybrid of a partially regulated/partially deregulated system, has resulted in energy costs for consumers that were $3 billion higher than the lower rates enjoyed in nearby states such as Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio, according to economist Dr. Jonathan Lesser and Dr. Philip O’Connor.  The findings were recently published in a formal response to the October “Draft Report on Electric Choice” coauthored by the Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission and the Director of the Michigan Energy Office.