Michigan state representative Gary Glenn announces with news source MichiganLive that he will be introducing legislation to expand competition and choice, allowing all taxpayer-funded entities — K-12 schools, colleges, universities, state and local governments — to buy cheaper electricity and save taxpayers money.
By State Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Larkin Township
Michigan’s economy is damaged by an arbitrary 10-percent cap on electricity users who are allowed to buy from an alternative energy provider, guaranteeing Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison a 90-percent monopoly.
Among those under the cap, Bay City Schools and Saginaw Valley State save $200,000 annually. Macomb Community College and Oakland County save $500,000.
Senate Bill 437 and House Bill 4298 would eliminate electricity choice altogether, imposing restrictions that force alternative suppliers out of business. Public schools now enjoying choice would be required to pay $15 million more annually for electricity, forcing them to lay off 300 teachers or cut programs. Other consumers would also be harmed by eliminating choice.
I’m introducing legislation instead to expand competition and choice, allowing all taxpayer-funded entities — K-12 schools, colleges, universities, state and local governments — to buy cheaper electricity and save taxpayers money.
Hospitals would also be free to choose, helping hold down state Medicaid spending. Beaumont Hospitals estimates it would save $3 million a year.
Residential customers could also choose if they purchase renewable energy or sign “energy optimization” contracts to reduce electricity use.
Michigan’s electricity rates are highest in the Midwest and 11th highest in the nation, but competition and consumer choice will help hold down rates as they do prices for other goods and services.
Understandably, the two government-privileged monopolies oppose competition and choice. They’re spending millions on misleading TV ads that frighten viewers with scare tactic claims of a non-existent energy shortage, hoping legislators will completely eliminate the freedom to buy electricity elsewhere.
Utilities claimed in 2008 that to build new power plants, consumer choice must be severely restricted. Lawmakers guaranteed the two monopolies 90 percent of the market, by law, but seven years later, no new plants have been built. Utilities now argue they need a 100 percent monopoly to build.
In Ohio, where utilities have no guaranteed market and must compete for customers, the Akron Beacon Journal reported July 21, that six new plants are expected to be operational by 2019. Unsurprisingly, electricity rates in competitive Ohio are cheaper than in Michigan’s 90 percent monopoly market.
To view the entire article, click on the link below.View this News Release (external link)