Lansing, MI – The Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative (MISEC), a coalition of 325 public school districts, continues to monitor the dispute between the state Legislature and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) over a controversial utility rule and remains concerned that the body is attempting to overrule the intention of duly elected state legislators.
Last week, the MPSC moved forward with its desire to implement a local clearing requirement which forces alternative energy suppliers to generate some or all of their energy in Michigan by 2022, a significant departure from bi-partisan legislation passed at the close of the 2016 legislative session. Removal of the local clearing requirement – or LCR – was a critical reason the bill passed the State House and Senate.
“While the MPSC voted unanimously to proceed with a local clearing requirement, the decision to delay its implementation maintains the electric choice market and allows the Legislature to clarify the language and intent of the new energy law relative to LCR,” said Gene Pierce, MISEC President and Superintendent of the Tuscola Intermediate School District.
“We’re concerned that the MPSC is attempting to circumvent state lawmakers purposefully, despite the negotiated compromise agreements reached in the final hours on the bill last year.
Pierce said MISEC will continue to work with House Energy Chairman Rep. Gary Glenn and other advocates to make sure the electric choice market and related school savings remain a viable option for Michigan schools.
If the rule is implemented in 2022 as the MPSC intends, schools stand to lose as much as $17 million in energycost savings each year. That’s equivalent to taking 300 teachers out of the classroom or a $35 reduction in per pupil spending.
“Every dollar we spend keeping the lights on is a dollar we can’t spend educating children. If the energy choiceprogram is eliminated, schools will be stuck with a multi-million dollar hole in their budgets. Programs will be cut, teachers may be let go and our children will suffer,” said Ray Telman, Secretary/Treasurer of MISEC.
Telman said the MPSC’s efforts to impose local clearing requirements exceeds the authority of public service commissioners and threatens the fiscal stability of Michigan schools.