It can be easy to take many of the comforts of modern life for granted: lights that turn on when you need them, and having affordable and cleaner electricity. That's why it's so upsetting to see lawmakers like Rep. Gary Glenn trying to chip away at the protections already in place to make sure we have access to Michigan-made electricity that's reliable and affordable.

In 2016 after two years of work on the issue, our Legislature finally adopted a new framework to guide Michigan’s energy future. This framework sets us on a new course, one that keeps our energy Michigan-made, reliable, affordable and cleaner. We keep our energy jobs in Michigan, too.

But unfortunately some are seeking to deregulate Michigan’s energy market, a goal that would undermine and even roll back this new plan for our energy future

Right now pricing and reliability are regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission, which is an independent appointed utility commission. Deregulating our marketplace would mean increased energy costs, jeopardize our electric grid’s reliability and outsource Michigan energy jobs to out of state energy companies.

We’ve seen what’s happened in other states when the energy marketplace was deregulated. In Illinois after deregulation, monthly electric bills for many families vastly increased, and the Illinois Attorney General filed a federal complaint to put a stop to collusion and price gouging.

In California, deregulation led to rolling blackouts, market manipulation and price gouging. Consumers in California also faced soaring rates, and one provider was even forced to file for bankruptcy. All of this led to a billion-dollar settlement with Enron — so it shouldn’t be surprising that the last time Michigan tried deregulation, it was being pushed by Enron.

Michigan’s experiment with deregulation failed once already. Historically, Michiganians have seen electric rates close to those paid by customers in other states — except for the years between 2000 and 2008, when we decided to deregulate the energy industry.

Under a new, unfair system where a few special interests get special breaks, the rest of us will pay for it.

Catherine Bostick-Tullius

Attorney and Lapeer city commissioner

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