With the signature from Governor Rick Snyder this past December, Michigan has approved legislation that will promote environmentally friendly energy use while saving residents money on electric bills.
As a partial victory for Michigan electricity consumers – who pay some of the highest energy rates in the country – the new legislation continues the state’s electric choice program.
“This legislation will make it easier for our state to meet its energy needs while protecting our environment and saving Michiganders millions on their energy bills,” said Gov. Snyder after signing the legislation.
However, the current choice program is limited to a maximum of 10 percent of electricity customers, and large commercial customers have been the primary beneficiaries of the choice program. And the plan allows the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to impose large capacity charges to Alternative Energy Suppliers (AES) that don’t produce their own electricity in the state or are an out-of-state energy marketer. This limiting aspect of the legislation may impose higher charges to customer taking supply from an AES.
“The ability for MPSC to impose large capacity charges could price out some customers, taking away their choice,” says Javier Barrios, Managing Partner of Good Energy, an energy company, which provides consulting services to communities in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and several other states. “For the residents of Michigan this is really only a partial victory, but Good Energy will be with the state as it continues to find ways to better serve its citizens.”
Good Energy administers more than 200 similar energy choice programs that lower energy prices for more than 1 million households nationwide.
The legislation also establishes a long-term plan for increasing Michigan’s renewable energy requirements. Through the new legislation, Michigan utilities must buy or produce at least 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2022. Also, the policy requires that 35 percent of the state’s energy be met through renewable resources and waste reduction by 2025.