The Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative (MISEC), a coalition of 325 public and non-public school districts, declared victory late this afternoon after the State House of Representatives passed a compromise version of an energy reform bill that was hammered out in the predawn hours early this morning by lawmakers and Governor Rick Snyder.
“The compromise bill is a win-win for schools and for the state,” said Tim Peraino, president of MISEC. “Schools get to continue buying lower-cost power through preserving the state’s energy choice program, which keeps money in the classroom, and the state gets the comprehensive energy bill it so badly needs. We applaud House members and Governor Snyder for their due diligence in this matter, and are urging the State Senate to concur with this important legislation.”
Since the start of the state’s energy choice program, Michigan schools have saved a total in excess of $125 million in energy costs. The choice program is so popular that 11,000 businesses and about 100 school districts are on a wait list to get in. With this compromise, schools on the wait list will be able to participate in energy choice without incurring prohibitive costs, within the existing 10 percent cap on the market, as is currently written in Michigan law.
“This is a huge win for schools and for the electric choice program,” Peraino said. “We urge members of the Michigan Senate, especially those who care about schools, to immediately concur with the House version and make this bill law.”
The compromise, Peraino said, was the work of a broad coalition of electric choice advocates, the utilities, the governor’s office and many legislators.
“We would like to thank all of those involved in the creation of this compromise for their hard work and diligence,” he said. “This is an energy bill that everyone can be proud of.”
If the energy choice program had been effectively eliminated, which earlier versions of the bill would have done, schools would have lost $17 million a year in energy savings, the equivalent of taking 300 teachers out of the classroom annually.