The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Markkanen proposes plan for affordable energy


October 28, 2019

LANSING — State Rep. Greg Markkanen, R-Hancock, announced Wednesday he is proposing a plan to make it easier for utility customers in the Upper Peninsula to access clean and affordable energy.

His “Powering Michigan Forward” plan focuses on a state law restricting how many residents can participate in renewable energy efforts.

“Not only will this plan give people throughout the Upper Peninsula the energy freedom they deserve, it also will support jobs in our communities and help our local economy continue its forward momentum,” Markkanen said in his announcement. “Under the Powering Michigan Forward plan, residential, commercial and industrial customers will have access to clean and affordable energy options.”

The state’s current law allows utility companies to limit the total number of customers who can participate in “distributed generation,” which the announcement said was a renewable energy effort that allows customers to receive credit on their bills for any energy they generate using their own equipment.

The limit was originally 1% when the law was passed in 2016, according to the announcement, but the Upper Peninsula Power Company’s recent settlement with the Michigan Public Service Commission raised the company’s cap to 2% of customers.

Markkanen claimed the number of UPPCO participants is already reaching that limit, after passing the 1% cap “almost immediately” after the 2016 law went into effect.

The proposed legislation would also repeal the cap entirely, allowing any customers who meet the requirements to participate. The legislation would also repeal energy accounting methods that penalize distributed generation, according to the announcement, and ensure energy producers receive fair compensation.

Markkanen’s bill — House Bill 5145 — has been referred to the House Energy Committee.

—Richard Jenkins


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