Getty Images By: Sean Gallup

A republican limiting Energy Choice, that’s right.

House Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton has sponsored a package of legislative bills that would bring serious change to Michigan’s electricity market.

According to a Michigan Capitol Confidential article there is a certain provision of one of the bills that is concerning.  This provision will repeal the only remaining piece of a 2000 bill which ended the monopoly status of Michigan’s largest electric utilities.  That piece is known as “Energy Choice”, this legislation in 2000 allowed customers to buy the power from alternative sources.

Guess who was not happy when that law was passed in 2000, the state’s two large utilities Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison.

Guess who is going to be very happy if these new package of bills are passed?

Per the article House Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton stated the following:

“It’s an eight-bill package (House bills 4297 – 4304) that includes things that I think a lot of people are probably going to like. It keeps the RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) at the current level of 10 percent and allows alternative energy to be purchased from out of state (ending the in-state requirement on the mandate) and it allows us to get out of the high fees charged to ratepayers through the energy optimization program. Yes, it would also put an end to what’s been called deregulation (Energy Choice), under which 10 percent of ratepayers can purchase energy from alternative suppliers adding costs to other ratepayers.”

“Having those alternative suppliers selling here does nothing to help address the issue of building generation for reliability. Making a few rate comparisons doesn’t really cover the whole issue. It leaves out the question of reliability and capacity. It also doesn’t address all the regulations we have to deal with that come down from Washington.”

Energy Choice Now Executive Director Wayne Kuipers disagrees with Nesbitt on this issue.

Kuipers: “Representative Nesbitt has said the utilities are subsidizing the customers who are on Electric Choice. It’s not true. All suppliers, both monopoly utilities and competitive suppliers, are required to meet the same standard of power reserves. Monopoly utilities do not provide reserves for competitive suppliers. There is no subsidy. Representatives of the utilities have said this as well. They are also mistaken.”

“When Michigan switched to being a competitive-supply state, our rates went from being above the national average to below the national average. Since 2008, when Michigan switched back to monopoly control, our rates exploded, jumping 30 percent above the national average, 20 percent above the regional average. This happened while national wholesale prices went down 45 percent and rates increased nationally by just 2.7 percent.”

Are you in favor of Energy Choice?

Are you ok that the Republicans in the state house are ok with limiting your choice for an energy provider?

Was it a give and take Rep Nesbitt had to do to get other parts of the bill that helps Michigan?

Let’s discuss this tomorrow (Wednesday) on my show the Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.