Rep. Glenn: Expand Electric Choice to agriculture industry

Producers testify at committee meeting

LANSING -- State Rep. Gary Glenn, chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, today said Michigan's agriculture industry should be able to choose alternative energy providers outside the 10 percent cap currently allowed by law.

Glenn (R-Williams Township), sponsor of House Bill 5387 extending choice to the agriculture industry, Tuesday heard testimony before the committee from producers and others in the agriculture industry about energy costs and how money could be saved if they were allowed to choose a utility company instead of being limited to DTE Energy and Consumers Energy.

Glenn said the state's farmers, producers and processors already struggle to grow crops, raise food animals, and prepare those products for sale, and saving money on electricity could mean the difference between success and failure.

"Michigan's agriculture industry contributes $101 billion annually to the state's economy," Glenn said. "The profit margin in agriculture is slim, so anything we can do to help them keep some of the money they work so hard to make is of immense help to them. If we allowed more electric choice for farmers, they would have that opportunity.

"Allowing agricultural operations to choose where they buy their electricity will potentially save millions of dollars for Michigan's second-largest industry and lower the cost of products for consumers," Glenn said.

Testimony was offered by representatives of Michigan Sugar Company, the Michigan Agribusiness Association and the POET ethanol plant in Caro. Both said energy costs are among the top expenses of doing business in Michigan, and having choice of energy providers could save money and make production more effective.

The committee continues to consider the legislation.