Michigan Politician Offers a Quid Pro Quo

Michael Giberson

Via the Associated Press and MSN Money:

[Michigan’s] Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon has floated the idea of taxing utilities, possibly in exchange for eliminating the law that opened electricity markets to competition.

So, Dillon is offering consumers the opportunity to be taxed more in return for having the possibility of retail competition in electricity eliminated in Michigan. It is the standard political quid pro quo offer between the state and utilities: consumers supply the quid.

Of course, Michigan’s restructuring law already seemed to be relatively effective at thwarting retail competition — after sever years, only about six percent of electricity is supplied by “alternative suppliers” and only for commercial and industrial consumers — but the slim possibility that the utility could really screw up and throw consumers into the arms of a competitive supplier does make planning a little harder for utilities. They just can’t be 100 percent sure of having a lock on a consumer’s business like they did in the old days.