Michigan Chamber: responsible regulation is the best and proven approach
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
The future of Michigan’s energy policy – as has been discussed over the past several months at public forums across the state – is something all residents of this great state should be aware of, even though we often take our electricity for granted. Sound energy policy is foundational to Michigan’s economic progress.
With that in mind, it is important for Michigan lawmakers and those closely connected to policy decision-making to ensure that our state remains attractive to the families, communities and businesses that make this state run. The state’s approach to responsible energy regulation is the key to the establishment of a solid foundation for future economic growth for decades to come.
Current law, which was developed through a bipartisan process that spanned two years, has contributed positively to future business development in our state. The law recognizes the importance of reliability and the need for investment in power plant upgrades. We must encourage investment in both Michigan’s generation portfolio and in its distribution system; the supply of electricity drops precipitously in value if the infrastructure to transport that power fails.
In my opinion, the effectiveness of Michigan’s current energy policy cannot be overlooked because it:
- Eliminates subsidies, so that customers pay their true cost of service.
- Allows Michigan utilities to invest in our state’s long-term energy infrastructure, creating thousands of jobs and improving Michigan’s business climate.
- Saves families and businesses millions of dollars through energy efficiency programs that help reduce and conserve energy use.
Businesses depend on an adequate supply of reliable power so that they can thrive, and hopefully bring more jobs to our state. Their power needs must be met. Failing to sustain this momentum would affect all of us in a negative way.
Of course, the regulatory process in Michigan is not perfect. It can be improved. But, a system of responsible regulation is the best and proven approach to confront the volatile nature of price spikes in the electric market.
We shouldn’t have to endure the kind of risk that has plagued other states around the country when markets flip, as they often do. We simply can’t let that happen in Michigan.
Jim Holcomb is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.