MIDLAND DAILY NEWS | Michigan's electric choice market evaluated

“[Rep. Gary] Glenn has plans to introduce his own comprehensive free market based reform of energy policy during the fall session.

The package of bills will be centered around allowing every public school the choice to purchase energy from any supplier. Those public schools that are presently under the 10 percent cap would be pulled out and would not count against the cap. This would allow others waiting in the queue to enter the choice market.

‘Half the public schools are in the cap, so when we take them out, it’s going to leave a hole and so there are 15 percent sitting in a queue waiting to get into the cap. So there will be some commercial and industrial waiting to drop into the cap when schools drop out,’ Glenn said.

Midland Public Schools would like to get into the 10 percent cap for electricity, but cannot forecast its actual savings.

‘We do participate with natural gas. We have been wait listed on electric,’ MPS Superintendent Michael Sharrow said. ‘We cannot estimate savings without a bid. We do receive rebates from Consumers when we update equipment in the district.’

Following public schools, the plan would be to allow higher education and community colleges to enter the choice market. Then follow that up with municipalities, prisons and hospitals.

‘The votes aren’t there to kill the choice market,’ Glenn said. ‘But, the votes aren’t there to just lift the cap and go back to a totally free market, an unregulated competitive state. We’ll get there, but we’re not going to get there this term.’

Glenn stated that Bay City schools, which are in the choice market, save $200,000 per year. He stated that prisons would save $3 million and Beaumont Hospital could possibly save the same amount.

‘We spend an awful lot of taxpayer money paying for hospital bills,’ he said.”

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