A Train We Must Stop!

by David Sheldon

The Michigan House Energy Policy Committee will be holding a public hearing on this proposed energy bill Tuesday December 2nd at 9 am in Room 519 of the Anderson House Office Building.

House Bill 4298, proposed by House Energy Chairman Aric Nesbitt, is designed to make energy choice more difficult for those now benefiting from the energy choice program – mainly schools and government entities. Like the companion Bill 437 in the Senate, it is designed to gradually chip away at this program and thereby massively increase the revenues of the two dominant electric utilities – Consumers Energy and DTE.

On this website we seldom discuss issues that are not directly related to our smart meter cause. One might ask what is the connection between this bill and the meter choice bill that has been introduced by Rep. Gary Glenn this fall? The answer can be found in the massive political power already wielded by these two monopoly utility companies. Passage of this legislation will give them nearly unstoppable political momentum in our legislature. Politicians like to vote with a winner. If we have found the going steep for our cause under the present political circumstances, we will find the going steeper still if this bill passes.

For a detailed discussion of what this bill would do we refer our readers to an article by Laura Chappelle, a former member of the Michigan Public Service Commission from 2001 to 2007.

The present energy choice law, by providing choice to schools and other public institutions, does save them millions of dollars and does benefit us all indirectly through lower taxes than would otherwise be needed. In addition, so long as this program remains intact, there is always the possibility that it might be expanded to benefit us all in a more direct way – as was originally intended when enacted in the year 2000.

What we urge our readers to do now is to call your representative Monday or Tuesday and let him or her know that we do not need to be passing new legislation to increase our own school taxes and the revenues and monopoly power of the state’s two dominant electricity providers. We may still be able stop this train before it is too late!