Senator’s energy policy goal: Cost equity

The state Capitol in Lansing, Mich.

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A new policy outlining how the state deals with the production, cost and regulation of energy is under consideration in Lansing.

The sweeping plan, which has the potential to impact essentially everyone in the state, could be voted on later this year.

State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, chairs the Energy and Technology Committee. He said he has been working on the plan with stakeholders and legislators all summer and thinks it is nearly in place.

The energy policy developed during the Granholm administration, which provided for subsidies for alternative production of power and other provisions, expires at the end of the year. That, coupled with new federal government regulations that will close a number of coal-fired power plants in the state and still more Washington rules that could dictate state energy policy has left the state legislature looking for alternatives.

Nofs says he doesn’t want “to pick winners” and losers in terms of how energy is produced in Michigan. He just wants to make sure that the cost residents pay is as equitable as possible.

“Understanding that we’re going to have some rules probably with the federal government, mandates that they are putting on us … this truly is going to cost us more money,” Nofs said. “The main goal of this policy is to get our rates in line with the national average. We’ve done that with the industrial class. We’ve had their rates come down 8 percent this year. We’re also looking at the commercial class and the residential class to try to be able to bring theirs down.”

The plan now in the final stages of being put together deals with everything from how rates will be set to how the Public Service Commission will approve new generation plans to how people who want to go outside the big providers and buy from the open market can do so. Barring any major barriers, the policy could be passed this year.

Join “To The Point” at 10 a.m. Sunday as Nofs discusses the energy plan in detail.

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