LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – House Democrats have introduced more energy legislation to work with the renewables zoning legislation passed in the House last week. The Putting People First energy package contains seven bills, four of which were just passed in the House Energy, Communications, and Technology Committee.
Wednesday Morning, House Democrats held a press conference to address the first half of a new bill package introduced in the House last week.
Representative Helena Scott says the bill package was created to build upon and complement the energy legislation already making its way through the Senate. Representative Scott explained that the package aims to reduce costs by creating requirements for utility providers through proceedings conducted by the Michigan Public Service Commission that would assess utilities and establish incentives and penalties surrounding distribution, reliability, and performance.
Representative Scott said the legislation would create a muli-year rate steady, plus penalties and incentives attached to rate changes, and create resilience hubs in communities that experience outages.
“Michiganders deserve reliable and affordable energy and the Putting People First energy package makes the point that accountability in the delivery of services is required for checks and balances in the utility industry,” Representative Scott said. “Michigan’s clean energy future must be affordable, I’m going to stress that, it must be affordable.”
Over the summer, representatives formed the ERRA or the Energy Reliability Resilience and Accountability Task Force. U.P. Representative Jenn Hll was a member of the Task Force, which stopped in Marquette to hear from yoopers about the issues they face with energy. The representatives say this legislation will also fix some ‘common sense’ gaps in policy, like amending laws that only require outages including more than 1000 be reported, which excludes some major outages that would still affect entire communities in the U.P.
“My colleague and I put together some common-sense policies that would increase the reliability of our grid while lowering energy costs.” Representative Hill said. “Our package, once signed into law will truly put Michigan on a path to affordable, clean, and reliable energy.”
Representative Hill says these bills are important for energy independence and grid stability, especially with U.P. energy rates raking among some of the highest in the U.S.
The bill introduced by Representative Hill would create mandated reports from propane suppliers to keep the Michigan Public Service Agency aware of shortages or supply chain issues. She says under the current system, reports are already filed to federal agencies but those reports can take months to get back to the state, meaning state agencies may be unaware of shortages until months after they’ve started.
The bills are now waiting for a vote in the House before heading to the Senate. The bill’s authors say there are more components to the legislation that they hope to introduce before moving forward, and with sine-die resolutions passed, the House will now be adjourned until further notice, putting the legislation on hold until January.