MICHIGAN INFORMATION AND RESEARCH SERVICE | Vote on House energy bills put on sleep mode

"Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, said the (House Energy Policy Committee) members he's heard from are on various places within the 'regulation-choice' continuum. (Chairman Rep. Aric) Nesbitt is one side. (Vice-chairman) Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, has been clear that he's on the opposite side and supports a return to a full choice market."

The House Energy Policy Committee will not vote on Michigan energy policy reform before the summer recess later this month as a split committee debates internally whether it wants to end a choice program that is showing significant savings for schools and some businesses.

Chair Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, set a goal of moving something out of his committee in April or May, but with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget and the House Speaker's road plan sucking up the oxygen from the House chambers, Nesbitt's plan to re-regulate the state's energy market hasn't seen a vote.

Information gathered by MIRS revealed a significant number of the 25-member committee are spooked by Nesbitt's preference to eliminate electric choice, which they fear would hike, at least in the short-term, electricity bills for schools and hospitals, while taking potential state government savings off the table.

...(T)he House Energy Policy Committee has heard enough testimony from school officials like Mary Beth Rogers, the Clarkston Schools business services director, to be concerned about the impact of eliminating the allowed 10 percent of the electric market non-incumbent choice providers have received since the last re-write in 2008. Rogers told the panel electric choice is saving her district $350,000 a year, the equivalent of $40 per student or 5 full-time teachers. 'Moving us away from choice programs will affect the classroom,' Rogers wrote in her April 13 letter to lawmakers.

...'If the schools are saving money, that's fabulous,' said Rep. Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights. 'It's hard to turn our backs on them.' Two private schools in Rep. Bill Lavoy's, D-Monroe, district mentioned a similar situation to that of the Clarkston Schools official.

...Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, said the members he's heard from are on various places within the 'regulation-choice' continuum. Nesbitt is one side. Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, has been clear that he's on the opposite side and supports a return to a full choice market."