Poll shows Michigan voters prefer electric stability, reliability; rank deregulation at the bottom of legislative action items
LANSING, Mich. – More than 70 percent of Michigan voters confirmed their support for safe, reliable electric service and stable, affordable energy in a recent poll and agreed that keeping current regulations in place ensures stability in the marketplace.
A mere 2 percent of voters ranked “reforming the way our electric utilities are regulated” as demanding their attention, according to the TargetPoint Consulting survey that contacted 500 Michigan voters between Feb. 18-21 using a Web-based platform.
While 71 percent of the respondents favor electric regulation’s price stability and service reliability, only 29 percent indicated that customers would be better off under “a deregulated structure where market forces determine costs and the level of service.”
According to the poll, a combined 54 percent agreed that fixing the roads and highways, holding the line on state taxes and spending, and making health care more affordable are the top three concerns facing Michigan legislators today. (Note: A question that addresses jobs or jobs creation, which typically heads the list of similar polls, was not a part of this survey.)
“Deregulation is a gamble and exposes families and businesses to volatile electric markets without lowering rates for most customers,” said Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition senior policy director Steve Transeth. “Over the past 10 years, many states have experienced price spikes after deregulating – including a 55 percent increase in New Jersey, 66 percent rate increase in Texas and 110 percent increase in Maryland.”
The poll numbers confirm that when it comes to electricity, Michigan residents care deeply about protecting reliability and affordability. On the other hand, experimenting with variable and potentially volatile rates, which has been the experience in deregulated markets from California to Connecticut, is something they want to avoid at all costs.
“Let’s face it: Michigan voters are practical and pragmatic,” Transeth said. “They’re not beating down
the walls of the Capitol, clamoring for legislators to change the way utilities are regulated. They want to make sure their lights and computers come on every morning, and that the supply of power is there when they need it.
“Above all, Michigan residents don’t want to risk reliability over a market philosophy that has failed to lower costs or encourage investment in new generation.”