Why 90% of Michigan Residents are Paying Too Much for their Energy Bill

David Hernandez, co-founder and CEO of Liberty Power, was on WJR 760AM’s Frack Beckmann show in Detroit to discuss electric choice in Michigan – or the lack thereof.

You can listen to the entire podcast  here.

In Michigan, only a few lucky customers can take control of their electricity supply options. The rest are stuck with the utility. Michigan used to be a fully open market where everyone could shop. In 2008, a bill (HB 5524) – that was heavily-backed by the local electric utilities – capped the amount of electricity that could be served by alternative energy suppliers like Liberty Power to just 10%.

The 10% cap was reached in both DTE and Consumers in less than 12 months after the bill was passed. Today, you can go to the utilities’ websites (Consumers Energy; Detroit Edison) and see that there are over 11,000 enrollments “in the queue,” meaning customers on the waiting list, hoping either someone on the cap goes out of business – perhaps moves to a neighboring state where electricity rates are lower – or new legislation is passed. Until then, Michigan law is holding them hostage.

And these 11,000 enrollments on the waiting list are customers that have actually signed legal agreements with an alternative energy supplier and went through the process to get on the wait list. The magnitude of demand for energy choice is Michigan is actually much, much greater.

In a statewide poll in the spring of 2013, 82 percent of Michigan homeowners and businesses should be able to select their electric company, just as they choose their phone and natural gas providers.

There is good reason too. Since 2008, the same year the 10% cap was put in place, electric rates nationwide have risen 2.7% nationally. Rates in Michigan have jumped by more than 26% ─ nearly 10 times the national average.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Michigan families and job makers who filled the state’s 10% competition cap in 2009 have already saved $350 million.

There have been a number of legislative efforts over the years to increase the cap. The most recent legislation is House Bill 5184, sponsored by Representative Mike Shirkey (R) which would eliminate the cap altogether so everyone can shop.

As a voter, contact your legislators – your local legislator, Governor Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Meekhof, and House Majority Leader, Bolger. Write them, call them, email them and let them know that you want electric choice in Michigan.

Liberty Power is a part of Energy Choice Now, an organization that that has been advocating for electric choice in Michigan for quite some time. If you want to learn, go to their website http://ecnmichigan.com/.

November 25, 2014