Stamas: PSC failing Michigan families and job providers

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas on Wednesday expressed his frustration with the Michigan Public Service Commission’s recent ruling about how much utilities are required to pay independent producers for the energy they generate.

“Once again the Public Service Commission continues to issue rulings that hurt our consumers — especially the families and businesses in towns throughout our state with independent energy generators,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Michigan families and job providers deserve a state energy policy that gives them access to affordable and reliable energy, yet the commission has repeatedly failed them.”

On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission issued a third and final order in a utility case in which it finalized a formula for avoided costs the company is to use to purchase power from independent power producers.

The ruling deals with requirements under the 1978 federal Public Utility Regulatory Power Act, which requires regulated utilities to purchase power from small renewable power producers of less than 20 megawatts. What a utility pays a small producer is called the avoided cost, or the amount the utility would have paid if it had bought or produced the power.

“At rates determined by the commission, three biomass plants in Michigan would likely be forced to shut down, costing our state hundreds of jobs and valuable energy production,” Stamas said. “As our economy continues to grow and older plants go offline, we cannot afford to lose independent energy production. This is especially true for the communities that might lose well-paying jobs if generation plants are forced to close.”