For Immediate Release
March 29, 2007
Dr. Martin Kushler, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy: 517-655-7037
Mike Shriberg, Environment
David Holtz, Clean Water Action: 313-300-4454
Anne Woiwode, Sierra Club
David Pettit, Public Interest
Research Group in
Fr. Charles Morris,
Budget-fixing electric utility tax plan:
Intriguing, but needs key improvements
A proposal to help erase the state’s crippling deficit through an
electricity tax and the re-regulation of
“As with any major policy change of this nature, there are plenty of pitfalls if this is not carefully designed,” said Dr. Martin Kushler, director of the utilities program for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “However, if the approach contains good regulatory protection for consumers, along with the incorporation of strong utility-funded energy efficiency programs, then a well-designed re-regulation of our electric system could be good for ratepayers and the environment.
“This has the potential to be a creative and reasonable response to the state’s financial train wreck.”
The plan, advanced by House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Twp., must protect ratepayers by ensuring aggressive requirements for energy efficiency programs and pollution-free renewable power sources. Efficiency opportunities include power-saving high-tech equipment in industrial plants, high-efficiency lighting in commercial buildings, and cost effective home improvements including efficient appliances and better insulation for residential customers.
Such measures would generate
Ratepayers also would save money. Energy efficiency programs cost about 3 cents per kilowatt hour of power saved; compared to 6 to 9 cents per kWh if they were to purchase that power from a new coal plant. Those savings to ratepayers could help offset the costs from the utility tax increase.
“If crafted carefully, Mr. Dillon’s plan could help solve
our immediate budget crisis, and take forward-thinking steps to reduce our
dependence on dirty, dangerous, expensive fuels like coal,” said