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2015 U.P. Energy Crisis?

As we speak, more than 20,000 Upper Peninsula families and businesses are being confronted with the possibility of substantial price hikes on electricity.

The Presque Isle Power Plant near Marquette recently saw one of its largest customers switch to an alternative energy supplier. This customer – which the plant was designed and built to serve – represented more than three-quarters of the power plant’s overall load.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in July that Michigan families and businesses would have to pay more for their electricity to keep Presque Isle running.

If the plant were to be shut down, it would jeopardize reliable electricity across the Upper Peninsula – so keeping it open means everyone will have to pay more for electricity. 

This kind of cost shifting is what happens in deregulated electric markets. Alternative energy suppliers pick and choose the most profitable customers – and leave everyone else behind to absorb the brunt of the costs.

Consumer Cost

The most immediate question is how much will this impact U.P. residents? The answer is not good: as much as $600 per year, or about $50 a month.

These increases will hit Yoopers extremely hard, at a time when the Upper Peninsula already is experiencing high unemployment. Many Upper Peninsula residents also live on fixed incomes, and so will be hit particularly hard by the increase.

Hitting Businesses Hard

As bad as the news is for U.P. residential electricity consumers, businesses are in for a bigger sticker shock—much bigger.

Companies in energy-intensive industries could see their monthly electric bills increase by thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of dollars.

Looking Ahead

This is a big issue for Michigan energy consumers—and therefore a big issue for the Alliance for Michigan Power. We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you abreast of developments, as well as let you know what we can do once the opportunity to take action takes shape.

In the meantime, see the articles below for more information:

Detroit Free Press

Interlochen Public Radio