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LANSING- Broad range of business, environmental, education, health leaders unite in opposition to Nofs energy package

Broad range of business, environmental, education, health leaders unite in opposition to Nofs energy package

Bills carry $4 billion price tag for small businesses, families
LANSING – Leaders representing the business, environmental, health and education communities called on the Michigan Senate to reject S.B. 437 and 438, the energy package sponsored by Senator Mike Nofs that independent experts have estimated carries a price tag of more than $4 billion for ratepayers.

“The Nofs energy package has devolved into a patchwork of complex changes that uniformly benefit big utility companies at the expense of Michigan schools, businesses and families and we urge the Senate to require necessary changes to these bills as requested by numerous Michigan ratepayer groups and business organizations,” said Laura Chappelle, director of Energy Michigan. “Michigan’s electric choice customers have paid the utilities $550 million dollars in stranded costs and securitization over the past 15 years for the ability to have what little choice they have been legally granted in order to freely choose alternate electric providers. These bills are not fair to those customers that have paid such substantial amounts of money to the incumbent utilities. The wide range of opponents to these bills, of all political stripes, have been sending a consistent, strong signal to lawmakers that the Nofs energy package is not in the best interest of ratepayers.”

 

“While the package has improved in recent days, AARP Michigan believes Michigan needs a customer first not an industry first policy. At 15 cents per KWH Michigan has the highest electricity rates in the Midwest. A customer first policy would provide better results for Michigan,” said Melissa Seifert, AARP MichiganAssociate State Director for Governmental Affairs.

 

“The legislature has a chance to make Michigan more competitive and responsive to the marketplace by building on the 2008 Act to expand renewables and energy efficiency. This package of bills does not do that,” said Larry Ward with the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF). “The losers in this legislation are ratepayers who want more renewables and lower rates – that’s why we’re all here today. The winners are the investor-owned utilities who get guaranteed profits and an insider game that continues to be built for their advantage. MCEF calls on GOP legislators to stand up for ratepayers and vote no on these bills. We can do better for Michigan’s future.”

 

“Because we support free market principles, we oppose these bills – they strip Michigan families and businesses of the opportunity to generate their own clean, renewable energy, rather than making smart investments and policy changes that put Michigan on track for a competitive market-driven energy future,” said Tony Daunt of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “We need energy policy that puts power in the hands of ratepayers, instead of strengthening the utilities’ monopoly, and it’s unfortunate that the Nofs energy bills would simply provide another payday to the big utility companies.”

 

“At a time when schools statewide are already under a budget crunch, the Nofs energy bills threaten to raise costs on school districts to the tune of more than $15 million every year,” said Ray Telman, Secretary Treasurer of the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative (MISEC), which works with 275 school districts serving 541,000 students across Michigan. “We need lawmakers to start over with a goal of crafting legislation that requires utility companies to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, while allowing competition in the energy marketplace that benefits more than 275 Michigan school districts, as well as businesses and families.”

 

“As a group of industrial businesses representing 100,000 employees in 60 counties across Michigan, we are concerned that Senate Bills 437 and 438 will reduce competition and diminish customer choice, costing ratepayers billions,” said Rick Coy of the Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity (ABATE). “Policymakers have a basic responsibility to ask how much these proposals will cost businesses in their communities. Unfortunately, it seems that policymakers are turning a blind eye to this critical question that will affect some of Michigan’s largest job providers.”

 

“The Nofs energy plan greatly weakens our renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and will increase dangerous pollution that threatens our air, land and Great Lakes,” said Margarethe Kearney of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “We need an energy policy that will reduce dangerous pollution instead of creating incentives for big utility companies to pollute even more, which is why we urge the Senate to vote ‘no’ on this irresponsible plan.”

 

“Health care professionals across Michigan have voiced strong opposition to these bills, because they take Michigan off the pathway to clean energy and set the stage for more dangerous pollution entering our air, which causes serious health problems,” said Kindra Weid, RN with MI Air MI Health. “We urge Senators to defeat these bills and keep Michigan on a pathway to cleaner air for our families and children.”

 

Other business and advocacy organizations joining the Tuesday morning media event at the Michigan Capitol included:

Americans for Prosperity

Ecology Center

Sierra Club

Michigan Chemistry Council

Michigan Grocers Association

Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Midland Cogeneration Venture

Natural Resources Defense Council

 

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