Third Hearing on Michigan Meter Choice Bill

MARCH 14TH, 2017 – A THIRD HEARING ON THE METER CHOICE BILL AND A GREAT PRESENTATION ON ELECTRIC CHOICE BY THE MACKINAC CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY.   Because there had been concerns expressed by committee members about possible shifting of costs from opt-out customers to smart meter customers, today’s hearing in the Michigan House Energy Committee began with a special presentation by Richard Meltzer, a retired PhD statistical researcher and consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Meltzer had also participated as an intervener in the MPSC case U-17053, the case in which the present opt-out fees for DTE were determined. Key testimony included Meltzer’s assertion that the opt-out fees determined in that case were punitive, designed not to recover costs but to discourage opt-outs, and that DTE has been very selective in attaching certain costs to classes of customers while not doing so in other cases, in order to suit its own purposes. He provided specifics in the form of exhibits from the U-17053 case to back up his assertion that the net cost shift between smart meter customers and opt-out customers had been overwhelmingly in the direction of burdening the opt-out customers.

A decision was made to defer voting on the merits of the meter choice bill to allow more time to address concerns of some committee members. Rep Glenn offered an amendment to modify the text of HB 4220,  primarily to remove water meters from this bill thereby limiting this bill to energy utilities (electric and gas) that are regulated by the Michigan Public Services Commission. The definition of “traditional meter” was also improved to remove any ambiguity that “traditional meter” could mean anything other than an analog meter. The amendment of the bill’s text was approved unanimously, with understanding that a separate bill will be introduced for the smart water meters.

The Mackinac Center presentation, by Jason Hayes, was a plea for free market principles in the electricity markets. Examples were given that in states where electric provider choice was not capped at 10% (including Michigan between 2000 and 2008) electric rates were much lower than in states where there was no choice or choice capped. In the questions following this presentation Rep Kivella asked if Mr. Hayes believed it was appropriate for smart meter opt-out rates to be set at an arbitrary figure by this legislative committee of “largely non experts” or by the Public Service Commission. The response was that “just at a gut level I don’t like the idea of trusting a Public Service Commission except where you have to, and in this case, setting electricity rates you have to.” He indicated that he would prefer a market based setting of all rates but that the PSC is the system we have.

After the Mackinac Center presentation there were more public comments on the meter choice bill. Complete video of this hearing here.


7 thoughts on “Third Hearing on Michigan Meter Choice Bill

  1. Thank you Dave for keeping us updated. I have been searching for any info on the March 14 meeting. I have been informing people on our St. Clair county facebook site. Stirring them up and encouraging their participation. Again, thank you! Sincerely, Patti Walsh


  2. As an intervenor in case U-17053 we all heard dtes responces on how they got the ratio for the opt out and it was fraud. and allot of other issues we also sent a 33 page document to them on other issues they lied about also. DTE knows the contract they have have with you is a fraud and should be annulled. IT IS FRAUD. THEY ARE MAKING YOU HAVE SOMETHING YOU DONT WANT. AND NOT TELLING YOU WHAT IS IN YOUR CONTRACT WITH THEM. DYNAMIC PRICING? DOES ANYONE KNOW THAT?

  3. I agree the testimony by Dr. Meltzer and presentation by the Mackinac Center was great. Was there any indication of when they will actually vote on it?

  4. It is good to see the Meter Choice bill still going and I hope it gets voted positively out of committee.

    Re: De-regulation and electric supplier choice – be careful – it is a Trojan horse and you will regret supporting this initiative. Based on my research, the plan is to de-regulate the power generation portion of the electric industry and leave the crap (distribution portion) with the states to regulate. They plan to get the fixed monthly amount paid before one KWh is used up to about $30-$50/month to cover those distribution system costs. They want electric power generation to be a commodity. Name one commodity today that is not price manipulated by some oligarchy or Geo-political means.

    They are going to globalize this market also, like they did with banking. How did you make out on that venture? Read their strategic plans. Go to the Federal Dept of Energy’s website and look for Grid 2030 and Technologies Roadmap. Pay attention to who participated in this plan, entities are listed at the end. It will explain why the regulators have approved these smart meter projects with no positive benefit to the consumer. Ask yourself why the US has a 2030 goal of “intercontinental bilk transfer of power”. Don’t be fooled for one minute that a supplier choice company would give you a choice of meters. Just won’t happen because this is not a meter it is a network and if you remove meters you mess up the network.

    Read the Integrated Grid, it will show you the problems of integrating renewables and how it needs to be controlled and managed in order to keep a reliable grid. Currently if you find anyone receiving lower prices through supplier choice programs, it is because of massive subsidies for renewables. Once those subsidies end – and they all will someday – the prices will skyrocket. Note also that windmills and solar panels have been prominently featured on all smart grid graphics, it is part of the plan. The phony fight going on that utilities hate solar, etc, etc is just that – phony. But ask yourself, is it free market principals to force utilities to do net metering at retail prices? What idiot would approve that? The utility has to buy your power (that it may not need), spend money to try and anticipate & manage when it will come into the grid and then they can only sell it at the price they paid you for it – no profit and recovery of costs. And why isn’t anyone screaming about the cross subsidization of costs between solar/non-solar before approving these programs? It was done to get solar going and the rug will be pulled out after de-regulation.

    After that – google “Global Grid”. Check out “Tres Amigas” – the US project to connect our three grids.

    The conditioning programming going on right now is that electric companies are monopolies and monopolies are bad. The state legislators are passing crazy stuff and the PUC’s/PSC’s are rendering crazy decisions. Why? I think to condition the people to hate the electric companies and demand de-regulation. But electric companies are NOT monopolies – they are REGULATED monopolies – big difference. They were purposely set up as regulated monopolies for a good reason. And the regulated utility model is NOT broken – the REGULATORS are BROKEN. They are not doing the job.

    Be careful of this Trojan horse. Think CA and Enron, I personally think it was a pilot program.

    • This sounds like a typical political delaying tactic. None of my district representative have indicated that they support this measure. I have contacted all of them.

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