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Michigan Strives to Enable a Competitive Electricity Market

Michigan seeks to change the 2008 energy law enabling a fully competitive electricity market to return. The 2008 law prevents various competing electricity providers of doing business in the state.

Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, will introduce legislation this week that will eliminate the 10 percent cap on competition that’s been in place for five years.

House Bill 5184 would remove the provision of the 2008 law that provides that no more than 10 percent of an electricity utility’s average weather-adjusted retail sales for the preceding calendar year can take service from an alternative electricity supplier.

DTE Energy Co. spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said the idea behind this proposal seems to not acknowledge what happened prior to the law’s enactment.

“We had full deregulation and it failed,” Bodipo-Memba said.

Prior to 2008, there was volatility in pricing and less predictability in constructing new electricity generation plants.

Advocates for a fully competitive electricity market argue that since 2008, prices have increased because DTE Energy and CMS Energy Corp. have a regulated monopoly and no incentive to keep costs down. Thus has led to higher energy costs compared to surrounding Midwest states, Energy Choice Now Executive Director Wayne Kuipers said in a statement.

More than 11,000 electricity customers in the state are on a waiting list with their utility to switch to a lower-cost provider, but are barred from state law from doing so.