Program: Low-income/energy efficiency assistance 

 

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$60,000,000

 

Total:

$60,000,000 [14]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the low-income/energy office efficiency fund.  This program was developed as part of the state’s 2000 electricity industry restructuring legislation.  Its purpose is to provide energy assistance to Michigan residents who cannot afford to pay their utilities.  The goals of the program include protecting low-income families from having their utilities shut off.  In addition, this appropriation may subsidize grants to organizations working to develop better “alternative” energies such as solar and wind power. [15]

Recommended Action:

This program should be eliminated.  Institutions of civil society have been helping low-income people and families pay their utility bills since centralized power companies began distributing energy directly to homes.  Neighbors, religious organizations, families, and civic groups have and continue to provide such assistance.  They could do more if government refrained from crowding out their efforts with programs of its own. Nonprofit charity groups such as the Salvation Army, United Way, and Citizens Energy have also provided cash assistance.  Regarding government grants for developing solar and wind power, these could be eliminated as well.  The alternative energy industry should be required to seek private investors, which provides much greater accountability and success, than investments by bureaucrats.  Indeed, government grants may actually hamper development of such products.  Savings: $60,000,000.