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ICYMI: 2015 U.P. Energy Crisis Averted?

As we reported back in December, Upper Peninsula residents are facing a potential energy crisis.  At issue is Wisconsin-based power company We Energies and its attempt to shut down its Presque Isle Power Plant near Marquette.

Because shutting down the plant would impact electric reliability in the region, officials have ordered it to remain open. At the same time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ruled that U.P. consumers will have to foot more of the bill to keep the plant running.

Overall, this would cost about $8 million per month, which translates into roughly $600 a year per residential customer. Businesses can expect monthly increases in the thousands of dollars, if not significantly more.

Potential Deal

On Tuesday, January 13, Michigan officials announced the outlines of a potential deal that could “provide short-term relief for ratepayers by this summer in avoiding indefinite and costly ‘System Support Resources’ payments to keep the aging Presque Isle Power Plant online.”

The plan also achieves the “long-term goals of reliability and eliminating out-state utilities from the state’s energy future.” While this solution is extremely complicated, it will hopefully resolve this issue for Upper Peninsula families and businesses. Click here for more details

Obviously, this is an important issue for the Alliance for Michigan Power (AMP) and our members and constituents. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed as it progresses. Below are several links to news stories that offer more in-depth background information on the situation:

Detroit Free Press

Interlochen Public Radio                      Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Midwest Energy News                          Upper Michigan’s Source 

Lower Peninsula Next?

Unfortunately, even as the U.P. situation moves towards resolution, a similar situation is developing that could impact folks in the Lower Peninsula.

FERC officials have signaled that they might impose similar directives on Consumers’ Energy, which is slated to close seven coal-fired plans under a federal court order. If they are forced to remain open, it will once again be Michigan families and businesses that will pay the price.

All the more reason for Michiganders to continue pursuing our own energy solutions. Underscoring the importance smart energy policy for our state, Governor Snyder’s senior policy advisor Valerie Brader recently said, “Michigan needs to develop our own solution to avoid the federal government doing it for us.” 

The energy crisis in the U.P. demonstrates how important it is to plan for Michigan’s future electric needs and to ensure that decisions about Michigan energy policy are made in Michigan, instead of imposed on us from out of state.