SBAM Defends Electric Choice

February 11, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Small Business Association of Michigan says Michigan’s electric restructuring law (PA 141) is saving small businesses millions of dollars annually and should not be altered by proposals such as the one recently submitted by Detroit Edison.

“By allowing small businesses to choose lower-cost electric providers, this law has preserved the equivalent of 20,000 jobs since it was enacted four years ago,” said SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler. “As Michigan struggles to move out of this recession, now is the worst time to gut PA 141, which would strangle electric choice and impose the equivalent of a huge energy tax on our smallest, most economically vulnerable employers.”

Fowler said proposals by Detroit Edison to alter Michigan’s electric restructuring law will have the effect of maintaining high electric rates and further damaging the state’s economic climate.

“Detroit Edison’s rates are among the highest in the Midwest. They have a further 10 percent rate hike pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission. Without the competition provided for in PA 141, nothing will stand in the way of this monopoly utility raising rates even further in the future,” he said.

Barry Cargill, SBAM’s vice president of government relations and chairman of the Customer Choice Coalition, an organization claiming to represent thousands of Michigan businesses and governments and hundreds of thousands of workers, said electric choice is critical to his organization.

“Michigan’s electric restructuring laws are the only reason why companies have increased reliability by building new generating facilities in Michigan, which is still a net importer of electricity. Michigan’s law is saving Michigan manufacturers, schools, grocers and drug stores more than $100 million a year — an amount that is still growing,” he said. “The Michigan Public Service Commission, charged with protecting customers as well as utilities, just last week announced there is no need to change the state’s electric restructuring laws. The Customer Choice Coalition agrees.”   

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