Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Michigan Delays Proposed Energy Deregulation Overhaul to 2016

The United States has seen great strides in the area of deregulated energy markets in recent years, but there are still only nine states that have both the deregulation of electricity markets and energy industry deregulation. While the answer may be different for energy companies, it's pretty clear the consumer is the ultimate winner when the government is taken out of the equation and businesses are forced to compete just like in every other industry. 

Considering the current state of industries like natural gas, and the fact that U.S. electricity use in 2013 was more than 13 times greater than electricity use in 1950, these matters will begin to play an even bigger role going forward. One of the states that has deregulated their electricity markets, and has been on the cusp of doing the same for energy companies, is Michigan. 

According to the utility and energy news source UtilityDive.com, state lawmakers have decided to push back the vote on energy overhaul legislation that was planned until 2016. Michigan has struggled with what essentially amounts to partial deregulation right now and is trying to include language to boost renewable energy use. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) had said he wanted an energy package completed and passed before the end of this year, but with just days left in this year's session, lawmakers are forced to delay the vote until next year. 
"That was a goal," said Sen. Mike Nofs (R). "But more important than the goal is actually getting it right. So my bills aren't ready and they're not right yet." 
Renewable energy companies may already be chomping at the bit after the Michigan House Energy Policy Committee last month passed amendments to energy legislation that included a 30% renewables goal by 2025 and a compromise which would keep the state's energy choice law at 10%. 

In addition to cleaner energy companies, deregulation has helped consumer bottom-line as well. In 1995, generation accounted for about two-thirds of the price of electricity compared to today, where the cost of generating electrons currently accounts for less than half of the price of electricity, according to the Edison Electric Institute. 

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