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Michigan Legislators Hear Expert Testimony in Ongoing Energy Discussions

Over the last two weeks, Michigan legislators on the Senate Energy and Technology Committee have held five days of testimony on the newly reintroduced legislation from Senators Nofs and Proos, SB 437 – 438.

Committee members have heard from a number of witnesses representing a wide range of Michigan industries and economic sectors.  Below, we highlight just a few of these testimonies.

Testimony from Energy Experts

The committee heard from two leading energy experts that both offered their perspectives on why Michigan legislators need to pass the Nofs-Proos energy package to protect reliability and affordability.

Melissa Seymour, Executive Director of Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) 

In her testimony, Seymour focused primarily on resource adequacy—that is, ensuring our state has the energy resources it needs to ensure reliable service for all Michiganders.  Seymour emphasized that it’s important for Michigan to have a large-enough reserve built into our electricity generating capacity to ensure we meet demand during peak usage days or in the event of an unexpected outage or severe weather event.

Seymour said that MISO believes the Nofs-Proos legislation could help achieve these goals, ensuring Michigan has fairly priced, reliable electricity to meet its energy needs.

Steven Transeth, Former Public Service Commissioner

Transeth highlighted the potential for service interruptions due to a lack of capacity if Michigan does not find a way to build new generation capabilities expeditiously.  He noted that “new generation is being built [in Michigan], but it’s not being built to the level of actually replacing the generation that we’re losing.”

Transeth said that the current bills from Senators Nofs and Proos address the need for a balance between reliability and affordability for all Michigan consumers, and will allow Michigan to “keep a vigilant watch on what is happening in terms of our reliability.”

Speaking on Behalf of Michigan’s Economy

George Andreas of Ford Motor Company spoke at length about the importance of energy reliability, particularly for the automotive industry. Andreas’ testimony highlighted Ford’s perspective as a large, industrial end user of electricity in three key areas:

 

Andreas summed up his testimony by saying Senators Nofs’ and Proos’ legislation “is moving Michigan forward,” and reiterating his company’s support of this legislation to help secure a sustainable and affordable long-term energy strategy for Michigan.

Telling Testimony from Out-of-State Interests

The Committee also heard from Richard Spilky of Constellation Energy, an out-of-state energy company. Spilky testified that out-of-state energy companies have no responsibility to invest in Michigan or help ensure reliability, saying they are “not responsible for building generation in a given market in a given state.”

Senator Nofs questioned where Constellation would get its energy from as more generating plants close and prices start to creep up.  “Where do you go for your power? You don’t produce it,” Nofs said. “When things go sour, you’re going to leave—we want to keep the lights on in Michigan.”

The exchange left little doubt that, when it comes to ensuring reliability and investing in Michigan, out-of-state energy suppliers won’t put Michigan first.

What it Means for Everyday Michiganders

The opinion of policymakers and energy experts is one thing—but how the legislative solution from Senators Nofs and Proos impacts the average consumer is what really matters.

AMP believes SB 437 – 438 will benefit not only Michigan’s major businesses and industries, but average Michigan households as well.  The legislation makes some much-needed improvements to our energy planning process that will protect reliability and affordability for everyone, while also addressing issues of fairness that have arisen from our partially deregulated electric system.

Now that you’ve heard from the experts, take a minute to tell your legislators to support SB 437 – 438.  Take action now!