LANSING – State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) recently introduced House Bill 4683, which would require the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to adopt an energy plan for each of Gov. Rick Snyder’s regional prosperity zones. The Upper Peninsula is Prosperity Region 1, so it would get its own plan based on the needs of UP energy customers.
“I support the governor’s plan of using these regional prosperity zones to create opportunity. The cost of energy is one of the most important pieces of being able to attract businesses and jobs to our area,” said Dianda. “I want to make sure the UP has a voice in its energy future. We must give full consideration to generating as much energy as possible in the UP, and putting people to work at home.”
The MPSC would have to consider various scenarios in the UP that would impact the cost and availability of energy in the future. The MPSC would develop models of what an ideal energy infrastructure would look like with or without the construction of new transmission lines; with or without mining operations in place; and with the price of natural gas increasing or staying the same, among other things.
Based on this information, the MPSC would create a plan that is likely to give UP ratepayers the best value over time. During the process, stakeholders would be able to contribute testimony that would be considered in the adoption of the plan. Utilities would have to meet or beat the cost and reliability built into the plan if they are applying for a certificate of need to upgrade a generating plant or build a new one.
“With some of our people in the UP paying $0.24 a kilowatt hour, we don’t need any more surprises,” said Dianda. “We need to consider all the technology that is out there, talk about what we can expect in the future, and make an educated decision about our options. The people, businesses, and local governments of the Upper Peninsula deserve a chance to participate in a plan that is based on our unique resources and needs.”