Letter: Dump failed energy bills

Re: Our Nov. 27 Editorial “Last call for energy bills” should have called on the Michigan Legislature to finally abandon the pursuit of unnecessary and one-sided energy legislation that would further increase costs on Michigan employers and residents.

Instead, The News echoed many of the misleading and false talking points that have been repeatedly promoted by Michigan’s monopoly utilities, with the backing of millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising.

The primary mistake was in concluding that this legislation is urgently needed to ensure reliability. Michigan’s utilities have tried to make this argument for several years, even though the facts have never supported their claims. Indeed, many coal plants are being retired due to old age and environmental regulations, much of which will be unaffected by the Trump administration. However, all across the country, new power generation is coming online without expensive bailouts or re-regulation of competitive markets, including numerous investments in neighboring states with capacity markets.

For the rest of Michigan, a new three-year capacity market run by MISO is being implemented, and there will be new requirements in place for choice suppliers even apart from this legislation. In other words, Michigan’s electric reliability will continue to be in good hands even if no legislation is passed.

On the other hand, if the legislation is approved without any needed changes, Michigan’s ratepayers will continue to see increases for their energy costs, which are currently among the highest in the Midwest and nationally. This is a real burden for job creation, particularly for Michigan’s manufacturers. Regrettably, instead of promoting competitive energy costs, this legislation would make the problem worse, which is why so many leading companies continue to be in opposition.

Instead of evaluating the entirety of the legislation and the dozens of other provisions that will leave ratepayers worse off, The News concluded that the legislation should be passed simply because it has already been debated for two years. These utility-driven bills are no compromise and should dumped at long last.

John Dulmes, executive director

Michigan Chemistry Council