For school districts across Michigan, energy costs are the second most expensive line item behind personnel. Districts rely on low-cost energy to keep buildings warm in the winter, cool in the summer and supplied with electricity to provide students with an optimal learning environment.
The most important factor currently keeping energy costs down is the Electric Choice Policy, introduced in Michigan by Public Act 141 in 2000, and amended by Public Act 286 in 2008, which allows up to 10 percent of an incumbent utility’s customer load to be purchased through a choice alternative electric supplier.
A recently introduced bill, HB 4298, sponsored by Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), would eliminate the choice option and—if passed—fully regulate the utility industry to such a degree that it would all but become a monopoly.
In the 325 school districts across the state that participate in the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative (which was established in 1997 by MASB, MASA, MAISA, the Middle Cities Education Association and MSBO), the Electric Choice Program resulted in an electric savings of $14.7 million last year. That equates to approximately $30 per student—a significant amount in the aggregate—that can then be spent educating children, not paying overhead. Losing those savings would certainly result in cuts in other areas—teachers, staff and extracurricular options to name a few options—cuts no school district wants to make.
Utilities are providers of energy, but they’re also political entities with millions of dollars to throw behind lobbying efforts for a bill that would push more revenue their way at the expense of Michigan’s children.
To help its members counter this effort by the big utilities, MISEC has begun an initiative to educate the Legislature regarding the importance of the Electric Choice Program to Michigan’s K-12 community. To this end, they have launched various social media sites to help get the word out regarding this issue:
Please visit these sites, like/follow MISEC and share the information that they are providing.
This is just the beginning and you will be hearing more from MISEC in the very near future as they continue to oppose this effort to eliminate the Electric Choice Program. MISEC representatives will be testifying in opposition to HB 4298 at the House Energy Policy Committee meeting on Monday, April 13, along with two member districts providing details of the impact of the savings to their schools.
If you have any questions about MISEC, visit the cooperative’s website, or contact Patricia Alderman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517.492.1380.
The Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative (MISEC) is administered by the Middle Cities Education Association and is a non-profit, organized in 1997 by MASA, MAISA, MASB and MCEA. Our purpose is to aggregate and serve the state's individual school districts in order to provide a reliable supply of natural gas and electricity at the lowest possible cost. MISEC is a true cooperative not only organized by its members, but also operated with an appreciation of the needs of its member districts.
Our member districts represent over 1,000 school buildings which consume over 5,250,000 MMBtu's annually. MISEC membership is free and now exceeds 430 school districts in the State of Michigan.
MISEC works with most of the active natural gas and electric suppliers in the state and has a board of directors that includes superintendents and school business officials.
Before you make gas and electric decisions for your school district, please consider MISEC for your energy needs!