There is a wee bit of a disconnect today as one scans the news covering the impact of costs on ratepayers as a result of the legislation passed yesterday by both houses of the Legislature.
Some of the press have been focused only on the idea that
the new electric energy legislation passed yesterday by both houses of the
Michigan Legislature will potentially add up to $3 per month per residential
customer for renewable power (see
Others are picking up that a larger increase in costs for
residential ratepayers is coming because
Lastly, the Detroit Free Press front page did a better job by putting most or all of the factors out on the table. An article by Chris Christoff explains the increase the costs as a result of the legislation restoring most of the monopoly position for the utilities, BUT he also reports the DTE $10 BILLION proposed nuclear plant announced yesterday. A lot of good information is included on the webpage with this article, including Q&A about the costs: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080919/NEWS06/809190406 (Somehow a story by Tina Lam that showed up in the paper this a.m. about the DTE nuke plant proposal isn’t immediately findable on the page, however)
The truth is often the main victim of intense legislative fights with political overtones, and this mess is no different. There would have been increases in rates under almost any scenario, including no action at all. With 8 coal plant proposals and a nuclear plant proposal, the costs will be drastically higher than most of what is being talked about today. Energy efficiency, as was pointed out by the papers the quoted Marty Kushler with ACEEE, will actually SAVE money for customers.
But readily available, objective information that has been
brought forward in
http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/06-19-08-cost-electric.pdf ). Much more information is available for many different sources on these issues as well -- all verifiable and documentable.
One particularly important aspect of the legislation that passed is that there will be a requirement for each company or public power entity proposing to build new conventional generation to go through an integrated resource planning process, which will allow the public to at least see and comment on they claims and proposals instead of being subject to the extreme and diverse claims that have characterized the legislative debate from the start. But at the heart of this as well is the importance of letting people know that they CAN reduce the costs of electricity today by simple energy conservation steps. While price increases will affect us all, we are not entirely at the mercy of the electric companies, and we can even benefit the earth and our pocketbooks by doing the smart, simple stuff first.
Anne M. Woiwode, State Director
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