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Detroit Regional Chamber: critical that we have effective and efficient regulatory enhancement

The challenge in front of Michigan’s lawmakers is this: in order to spur investment and economic development, it’s critical that we have effective and efficient regulatory enhancement built upon rate equity, so that reliable electricity – and capacity for improvements – give businesses the confidence to create jobs and expand employment levels right here at home.

by Brad Williams
Vice President, Government Relations, Detroit Regional Chamber

Detroit Regional ChamberRegional collaboration plays a big part of daily business at the Detroit Regional Chamber. Frankly, it’s what we do best, and we take great pride in bringing together government leaders and key stakeholders to spur initiatives that have Michigan’s best interests at heart.

So, when we take a closer look at statewide energy policy and the plan of action that will keep Michigan competitive for the forseeable future, it’s imperative for us to identify the challenges and focus on the solutions that guarantee the greatest chance of success.

Michigan businesses want stability in the marketplace. They don’t want the ground shifting under them every couple of years. They want the lights to come on at the same time, the additional power to fire up when needed and the peace of mind knowing that they can count on their providers to deliver in the most strenuous of times and conditions.

With that in mind, I refer back to mid-February when Detroit businessman Peter Wong spoke at the first forum on energy readiness at the Library of Michigan.

Mr. Wong, a certified public accountant and owner of an 80-year-old industrial gas and welding products supply company (Roy Smith Co.), called on the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan Energy Office to take into the account the favorable levels of reliability and predictability established by the current energy policy – and how important both are to the future investment success of Michigan businesses.

Mr. Wong’s concern, and rightly so, centered on alternative energy suppliers and their ability to cherry-pick electric customers, which leads to a system of picking winners and losers – with lower rates for some, higher for others. That, in turn, creates the negative atmosphere that ultimately leads to business shutdowns or plans to look elsewhere for more favorable conditions.

It also places a larger financial burden on longtime businesses who have not been given the opportunity to lower their rates.

The challenge in front of Michigan’s lawmakers is this: in order to spur investment and economic development, it’s critical that we have effective and efficient regulatory enhancement built upon rate equity, so that reliable electricity – and capacity for improvements – give businesses the confidence to create jobs and expand employment levels right here at home.

We want businesses like Mr. Wong’s to be here for another 80 years or more. A reasonable energy policy for all Michiganders will help make that a reality.

Brad Williams is Vice President, Government Relations, for the Detroit Regional Chamber.