LANSING – State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) voted no today on an energy plan Gov. Rick Snyder and supporters were trying to push through the Legislature on the last day of the 2015-16 legislative session. Senate Bills 437 and 438 eventually passed with Dianda voting no because the plan does not help U.P. families with their extremely high utility bills, nor does it address the unique energy needs of U.P. communities.
“As we’re debating these energy bills in Lansing, my constituents are in the middle of the first real blizzard of the season, and they’re hoping that the power stays on, their homes stay warm and they can afford to pay their next energy bill,” said Dianda. “The bills that passed here today, however, don’t do anything to lower energy bills for U.P. families who pay some of the highest energy bills in the state, and that’s why I voted no.”
Dianda tried to improve Senate Bills 437 and 438 by offering amendments that would have expanded net metering allowing more residents to produce their own power, as well as increasing competition and choice to help residents find the most affordable power, and increasing transparency in rate cases by having the Michigan Public Service Commission hold rate case hearings in the U.P. service territory when a U.P. energy company asks for a rate change.
“Energy costs and energy choice are critically important for my residents, and here we are trying to move 200-plus-page bills through the House without even a committee hearing,” said Dianda. “Michigan needs an energy plan, and the U.P. needs an energy plan, but it’s hard to get that in the last 24-48 hours of session. Energy is an important issue, and we need to give it the time it deserves to get it right for my U.P. residents as well as the rest of Michigan.”