Op-ed urges Michigan not to reregulate retail electric power

In this morning’s Detroit News appears an op-ed about a utility-supported proposal in the Michigan legislature that would dramatically limit and perhaps extinguish the state’s sixteen year old effort allowing retail choice in electric power. The introduction:

Do Michigan consumers want to go forward or backward in reducing their electric bills and modernizing the state’s power system? The Michigan Legislature is about to make this choice in legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs and Rep. Aric Nesbitt. Their proposals would take the state backward.

Sixteen years ago, under the leadership of Gov. John Engler, the state moved to get consumers out from under the control of the monopolies supplying electric power. While it was never set up as a truly fair “playing field,” customers receiving their power from competitive suppliers grew to a high of 18 percent of the market. But by 2008, the big utilities succeeded in capping the competition at just 10 percent of the market. While Nofs said his bill (Senate Bill 437) would preserve that small amount of competition, it would impose additional restrictions that competitive suppliers are certain would push them out of business in Michigan. Meanwhile, thousands of Michiganians remain on a waiting list hoping to escape from their monopoly supplier.

I co-authored the piece along with with Jim Presswood of the Earth Stewardship Alliance.

ADDED: Ted Bolema and Jason Hayes with the Mackinac Center have a similarly themed piece appearing yesterday, “Mackinac: Senate energy bill would end electricity choice,” in Bridge magazine online.