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Coalition Offers Alternative to Michigan PSC Plan

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 1997

A coalition of Michigan electric utility customer groups and other entities has proposed an electric restructuring bill in lieu of the plan adopted by the Michigan Public Service Commission on June 5.

"Six months ago, many from this same group came together to point out that the commission's plan, if implemented, would be too slow, would favor the state's largest utilities and would result in few, if any, real savings for customers," said David Dornbos Sr., chair of Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity. "The response to our concerns back in January was, 'If you don't like it, come up with something better.' So we did."

Under the coalition's "pro-competition" bill, all customers would receive choice of electric suppliers during a three-year phase-in period, beginning April 1, 1998, or shortly thereafter. Although utilities would be allowed a reasonable opportunity to recover stranded costs, the bill would not facilitate securitization of those costs.

Commissioner John Shea had dissented to the PSC's June 5 order, expressing doubts on whether the commission had the authority to issue such a far-reaching order, which would open the state's electric industry to competition starting this year.

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