Trump’s Election Could Change Michigan’s Electricity Outlook

Lawmakers should pause plans to end electricity choice

The election of Donald Trump has suspended the need to pass legislation that would effectively eliminate the limited electricity choice Michiganders enjoy.

Supporters of Senate Bill 437 cited the need to comply with the Clean Power Plan, but the election of Donald Trump could change existing mandates. As explained in the Grand Haven Tribune by Jason Hayes, director of environmental policy at the Mackinac Center, lawmakers in Lansing may now pause.

With the presidential election now decided, the regulatory mandates to close (coal-fired) plants will likely die, or at the very least significantly change. Given these changes, we should recognize there is now no pressing need to impose bills like SB 437 onto the population of Michigan.

Hayes explained in a recent op-ed published by Bridge magazine that passage of SB 437 would eliminate electricity choice in Michigan. This is despite public support for more choice, not less.

So the big utilities stand to make a substantial profit if choice “withers.” But Michigan energy users have repeatedly stated in public polling that they value electricity choice and would like to see it expanded. In one 2013 poll, 82 percent of Michigan residents supported electricity choice. A 2016 poll showed that 66 percent supported expanding electricity choice beyond the current 10 percent limit.

The prospect of more energy freedom that could exist in years to come would be good for energy customers, Hayes told The Detroit News.

A Trump administration that turns away from focusing on renewable energy gives states like Michigan an easier transition for changing their energy laws and meeting the needs of consumers, who still get 30 percent of their electricity from coal-fired plants, Hayes said.

Read the op-ed in Bridge magazine.

Read the article in the Grand Haven Tribune.

Read the article in The Detroit News.