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What’s Up in Lansing: Industries Highlight Need for Reliability

Senators in Lansing heard testimony Thursday from speakers representing major Michigan manufacturers and business sectors, each of them stressing the importance of reliable, fairly priced electricity in keeping their operations running and our state’s economy growing.

Ford Motor Company’s George Andraos Explains the Impact of Reliability

George Andraos, Director of Energy at Ford Motor Company, and Charlie Pryde, Ford’s Regional Government Relations Director, testified about the importance of energy reliability. 

Speaking specifically about how quickly revenue is lost with even a split-second interruption in electricity, Andraos said: “Reliability for an industrial user…it’s really not a complete outage [that’s the problem]—any lag even for a few milliseconds shuts the process down for a few hours.” When one hour equals 60 vehicles, even the smallest of interruptions can cost millions in expenses.

Andraos also explained the need for comprehensive energy policy to support key goals like reliability, affordability, and sustainability—highlighting IRPs as a sound way to get our state where we need to be on these three key factors.  As one of the largest economic drivers in the state, as well as one of the largest energy users, the Ford Motor Company testimony provided vivid examples of why the same concerns that AMP has been focused on over the past several months are crucial to Michigan’s economic future. 

Local Business Leaders Emphasize Impacts on Michigan’s Other Sectors

Legislators also heard testimony from several smaller manufacturers and businesses.  Two local businesses in particular—Dunn Paper Products and AirBoss Flexible Products—helped give the Senators a clearer picture of why energy reliability and fairness are essential for the economic well-being of  Michigan communities statewide.

Greg Howe, Dunn Paper Products’ Executive Vice President for Purchasing, echoed Andraos’ sentiment about the need for reliable energy, saying an interruption in electric service shuts down the entire production line. Explaining the ripple effect this would have, Howe described how they are likely to lose customers if his company cannot deliver a quality product on time. Lost customers mean lost jobs for Michiganders.

Howe also called on legislators to address our state’s impending capacity shortfall, saying that retail energy marketers and out-of-state providers should be responsible for the energy needs of their customers.  More to the point, he stressed that Michigan cannot rely on the energy leftovers from other states when we face our own capacity shortfall on the horizon.

Terry Frazier, representing AirBoss Flexible Products—a manufacturing company that produces parts for the auto industry—showcased the economic ripple effect that occurs when an entire supply chain is affected by disruptions in the power supply.

Frazier underscored the need for all energy providers—whether they are local, Michigan providers or out-of-state energy companies—to be held accountable for responsible energy planning. He also stressed the uncertainty of a deregulated electric market, saying:

“Electricity has been one of the smooth things we could count on. When we moved to deregulation… we entered the queue as an option, but we never exercised it because the market was uncertain. We wanted to know we had plenty of electricity and that we could budget for it.”

Michigan’s economy has been on a path of recovery for the past few years, and we must continue to push Lansing to pass energy legislation that promotes reliable electricity at fair and consistent prices. This will not only keep our current businesses running, but will also ensure that companies looking to open new facilities and operations find Michigan to be a welcoming and competitive state.

How does electric reliability affect you, your business, or other businesses in your community? Tell us today!