By Jesse Berst
Michigan legislators have taken opposite positions on retail competition. Some favor a return to monopoly status for Consumers Energy and DTE, the state's two large utilities, according to a story in the Jackson, MI Citizen Patriot. Others want to extend and expand the reforms of 2008 to bring more competition. The 2008 law limited competition to 10% of utilities' sales.
Those who favor a return to monopoly claim competition would lead to higher rates for most residential customers. That certainly runs counter to the data that we have seen from Texas, the country's biggest competitive market. In that jurisdiction, retail competition ultimately brought lower rates and much more choice.
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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.