Detroit Regional Chamber: electric deregulation “unfair to customers”
Reliable, affordable electricity and a secure energy future is an essential part of everyday life in Michigan. Families and businesses may not often think about electricity, but they count on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to live, work and play. Thousands of Michigan jobs and billions of dollars of Michigan economic activity revolve around the energy industry in Detroit and throughout our great state.
In Rep. Mike Shirkey’s opinion (“Electric competition is bright idea,” Jan. 6), he supported a push to deregulate our state’s electric service – a risky, shortsighted policy that has failed wherever it has been tried.
Not only has deregulation failed in its promise to lower customer rates in the long run, in many cases it has caused rates to rise even faster than when rates are set by a public service commission as they are in Michigan. A recent study of rates in Texas, which has both regulated and deregulated markets, found the average household under deregulation has paid $4,500 more than those who had regulated rates.
More troubling is the fact that because of deregulation, Texas has been facing serious reliability problems.
The fatal flaw of electric deregulation is that it cannot create the needed investments necessary to build new generation plants without dramatically increasing rates. Without new generation, energy providers simply cannot ensure reliability. In many cases, states that have adopted deregulation have or are attempting to reverse this policy.
True competition – in sport, business, the classroom and elsewhere – exists only when everyone plays by the same rules on a level playing field. Electric deregulation allows a select few to benefit while the rest of us pay higher bills. That’s unfair to customers.
Michigan has a responsible energy policy that recognizes the long-term nature of the electric industry. It has a reasonable regulatory framework centered around affordable and stable prices, service reliability and a commitment to invest in future generation.
Michigan families and businesses deserve an energy policy that makes Michigan a priority and that is fair to all customers. Let’s keep it that way.
Brad Williams, Detroit Regional Chamber