Ground-breaking energy legislation sets Michigan on new course for reliable energy

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LANSING – Michigan’s new energy laws, Public Act 341 and Public Act 342, take effect today and uniquely position the state to adapt to market forces while removing barriers to a greener and more secure energy future.

“I’m excited for this landmark legislation to go into effect,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “Giving residents cleaner, smarter energy options will improve their daily lives and ensure a reliable energy supply for decades to come.”

The legislation, which passed both legislative chambers with strong, bipartisan support in December, launches Michigan into a new era and will help ensure a “no regrets” energy future for our state.

The laws are structured to allow Michigan to ensure that rates are affordable, electricity supplies are reliable, and that the environment is protected. Many barriers to reducing energy waste and increasing Michigan’s renewable energy have been removed. Michigan will also preserve the ability of many businesses to continue receiving energy from alternative electric providers, without jeopardizing reliability.

“Michigan now has an energy policy that allows us to adapt quickly to whatever makes the most sense, even if that changes over time,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “The new law will make sure we keep electric bills down by allowing us to choose the best solution, whether that is a utility building a new plant, or investing in its own customers.”

In addition, the new framework will let the state address concerns regarding reliability, said Sally Talberg, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, which has primary responsibility for implementing the new law.

“The new law provides a framework for Michigan to maintain adequate electricity supplies, which will ensure reliability and allow Michigan to make its own energy decisions,” Talberg said. “We are excited by the number of stakeholders that are already participating in discussions of the best way to implement the new laws.”

Passed by the Legislature on Dec. 15, 2016, and signed by Snyder on Dec. 21, 2016, the new statutes allow for a quicker review of utility rate cases, require electric providers to prove they have enough resources to serve customer needs, preserve electric choice, increase to 15 percent by 2021 the amount of power produced from renewable resources, encourage utilities to set up green pricing programs, support energy waste reduction, allow for on-bill financing of home improvement projects, and maintain net metering options.

Energy users should begin realizing many of the benefits of the laws by the end of the year. This video explains what the laws mean to you.

Stakeholders from many different perspectives – consumer protection groups, business associations, environmental advocates, utility leaders, and labor unions – expressed their support for the new laws:

Jim MacInnes, chairman of the Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board: “Governor Snyder should be commended for the goal he’s set forth to meet no less than 35 percent of the state’s electric needs through a combination of energy waste reduction and renewable energy by 2025. The additional funds and expanded scope provided to the Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board will further enhance its ability to represent the interests of residential electric and gas utility ratepayers.”

Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce: “The new energy law is the result of a thoughtful, fair and balanced compromise that addresses three key issues important to the business community, including sustaining customer choice, meaningful competitive bidding, and improving reliability. We recognize today’s milestone and appreciate the Governor, Legislature and commission’s work on this important Michigan issue.”

Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters: “Michiganders should be proud that our state was able to work together in a bipartisan manner to create a strong, Michigan-centered energy policy that reins in electricity costs, reduces pollution in our communities, and creates new jobs building a clean energy future. We look forward to working with the Michigan Public Service Commission to ensure that it is fully implemented in the years to come.”

Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy: "Our new energy law is critical to Michigan controlling its energy future. We look forward to working with the Michigan Public Service Commission to carry out policies that protect electric reliability, ensure energy affordability and promote clean energy and energy waste reduction for Michigan homes and businesses."
Patrick ‘Shorty’ Gleason, legislative director at the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council: “We are happy to see a great example of bipartisan legislation go into effect today that will help Michigan’s energy sector. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Governor, Michigan Public Service Commission and the utilities to provide qualified workers in the energy industry supply chain to benefit our state’s economy.”

Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy: "Over the course of the last two years, the Legislature thoughtfully examined Michigan's current energy needs and, more importantly, its future needs, to ensure reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy for our customers. The 2016 energy legislation puts in place a responsible and flexible regulatory process that will enable that shift and gives Michigan’s businesses and families peace of mind, while setting up Michigan for success as we move through the most significant transformation our industry has experienced in more than 50 years."

Rick Baker, president & CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce: “The Grand Rapids Chamber is excited to see Michigan’s new energy policy be implemented. The new law sets a firm foundation for our utilities and ratepayers to be competitive and successful, especially in terms of energy reliability and cost.”

Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council: "We are happy to see these bills go into effect today that will keep Michigan's energy industry moving in an environmentally favorable direction that also keeps electric bills low by tapping into affordable renewable energy. We look forward to working with our partners to assist in creating jobs, bringing new investment into our state and preserving the natural resources and quality of life that make Michigan such a great place to live."

Craig Borr, president and CEO of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association: "The Michigan Electric Cooperative Association proudly supported the energy reform package passed by the Michigan Legislature last year and signed by the Governor in late December. We believe the package will result in additional marketplace certainty and thus the construction of new, cleaner forms of electric generation in Michigan."

Tom Moran of Moran Iron Works Inc. in Onaway, Michigan: “Our state’s economy has been based on reliable and affordable energy for decades and that has been the lifeblood of manufacturing. Michigan has a sound energy law that creates a new and solid foundation. Our manufacturers can plan for the future, our employers can continue to grow, and our citizens can enjoy another level of energy security in their daily lives.”

James A. Ault, president of the Michigan Electric and Gas Association: “The new legislation is an important part of the ongoing process of moving from the electric physical grid and regulated public utility business model that served for many decades to future paths being determined based on competing visions. The stakes are high and wisdom and practicality in the implementation of the new laws will be essential.”

Jim Weeks, executive director of the Michigan Municipal Electric Association: “As the utility industry continues to retire older plants, MMEA members understand the importance of ensuring that the state of Michigan will have sufficient generation capacity to meet its long-term electric needs at affordable rates. MMEA also recognizes that renewable energy and energy waste reduction programs are critical components of any sound power supply plan. Public Acts 341 and 342 addressed the important issues facing our industry today and recognized the significance that our customers place on local control.”

Larry Ward, executive director of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum: "MCEF once again applauds the state Legislature, Governor Snyder, and the Michigan Agency for Energy for their hard work in passing Public Acts 341 and 342, which will make use of homegrown clean energy and energy efficiency to boost our state’s economy, create jobs, and lower electricity costs for Michigan families and businesses. This package is truly a win for Michigan and MCEF is proud of the role we played to help ensure a bright energy future for years to come."

Liesl Eichler Clark, president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council: "Rapidly scaling markets, growth of corporate demand for advanced energy, and continued declines in cost have combined to move ‘alternative’ energy firmly into the mainstream. Here in Michigan, the passage of legislation that boosts the renewable energy standard and better aligns utility business models with strategies to reduce energy waste sends a strong signal to the national advanced energy industry that Michigan is open for business."

For details about the energy law and its implementation, please visit Michigan.gov/energylegislation

For more information about MAE, please visit www.michigan.gov/energy.

For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc.


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