School is back in session, reminding us how strong local energy providers and strong local schools add up to much more than we often realize.
Some of Our Local Schools’ Strongest Supporters
Michigan’s energy providers make immense contributions to schools in communities across the state—and our energy policies should reflect the importance of those contributions. Investments made by our state’s two largest local energy providers—Consumers Energy and DTE Energy—help elevate education efforts statewide, at all levels, from pre-K through college.
Reliable Energy Is Critical to Effective Education
A large part of last year’s legislative debate about the future of Michigan energy policy focused on the need to keep energy reliable as many of our coal-fired generation plants across the Midwest begin to close. That’s one of the reasons AMP fought for provisions in the new energy law that would require out-of-state energy companies to prove they can maintain the capacity needed to serve their Michigan customers.
Reliable energy is as important for Michigan schools as it is for homes, businesses, hospitals, and other critical services. Michigan’s classrooms and students of all ages deserve reliable energy, which is why local energy providers work around the clock to ensure they have it. Lawmakers and regulators overseeing the continued implementation of the 2016 energy law must recognize that cost-savings are only one piece of the picture, and if we can’t keep energy reliable students will pay the price along with everyone else.
Supporting Energy Efficiency
Since 2009, local energy providers have helped implement energy efficiency programs in 335 local school districts. These efforts have generated more than $13 million in rebates and more than $160 million in lifetime energy savings for Michigan schools. That’s an average savings of more than half a million dollars for each district!
Local providers like DTE Energy also offer online resources to help school districts reduce their energy expenses. These comprehensive tips include how to cut energy waste in everything from drinking fountains, vending machines, and lighting to HVAC use, steam traps, and kitchen appliances.
Those programs don’t just help schools save energy; they also help young people become more energy-conscious at an early age, which benefits families at home, too. The Think! Energy program, for instance, teaches kids about energy efficiency and encourages them to apply what they’ve learned at home.
Here are just a few examples of how local energy providers support energy-efficiency efforts at schools across the state:
Choosing Michigan Energy Means Choosing Michigan Schools
In 2015, local energy providers paid about $252 million in property taxes “specifically earmarked for education,” which is enough to support 4,000 Michigan teachers. Over the next decade, “experts project that number to swell to an additional $1.2 billion, generating enough to support 20,000 teachers” as local energy providers continue to invest in our state’s schools.
Additionally, local energy providers often sponsor community events that benefit local schools and neighborhoods, like the ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day, which helps support beautification and clean-up efforts.
Some Michigan legislators don’t realize that choosing Michigan energy also means choosing Michigan schools, but it’s just another example of how our local energy providers do a lot more for Michigan than providing electricity—they are invested in our state in ways that out-of-state energy providers simply never will be.
Have you seen the benefits local energy providers bring to schools in your area? Let us know.