- The Michigan House Energy Policy Committee heard sharply divided testimony this week over a proposal to do away with the state's partially deregulated energy market, The Detroit News reports.
- Incumbent utilities DTE and Consumers Energy say returning the state to full regulation would help avoid potential energy shortfalls, while consumer groups say the competition is saving them millions of dollars.
- Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has indicated he favors keeping the current 10% cap on electric competition, but also favors new requirements that alternative suppliers guarantee their power supply.
Michigan continues to struggle with its hybrid energy market. It allows commercial and industrial customers to purchase up to 10% of the state's energy demand competitive suppliers, but investor-owned utilities say it could leave the state facing energy shortages. Their fear is that carbon regulations will spike power prices, forcing that supply back into DTE and Consumers' markets.
The Detroit News reported that Consumers Energy Senior Vice President David Mengebier told the committee "this is an urgent and serious challenge for our state, and one that is exacerbated by Michigan's one-of-a-kind hybrid market."
Conversely, lawmakers heard from the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative, which said schools saved $15 million last year through the competitive marketplace.
Several bills have been introduced, with varying proposals. Under one, proposed by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R), the market would gradually shift more towards competition and some 10,000 business customers currently on a waiting list would immediately be able to take service from competitive providers.
The Detroit News said the hearing this week focused on a package of proposals introduced by House Energy Policy Committee Chairman Aric Nesbitt (R), which included a measure to return the state to a fully regulated market.