There are a few lobbyists styling themselves “Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy” who are hammering the radio with political ads criticizing legislators who support expanding energy choice. CEME is, in fact, dependent for funding upon Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy. These guys have been around for awhile, so their pedigree is clear:
Touting A ‘Looming Energy Shortfall,’ Utility-Connected Nonprofit Spent $7.4 Million Last Year (2015)
The $4-Million Push To Influence Michigan Energy Law (2015)
Utilities spend $1.6M to influence Michigan energy policy debate (2015)
Michigan Big Energy firms working together to steer legislation to fatten their profit statements (2015)
Consumers Energy confirms affiliated PAC donated to Rep. Gary Glenn’s election opponent (2018)
Consumers Energy contributed $43.5 million over four years to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy (2018)
Utilities-backed dark money group sparking energy debate in Michigan This article describes ““Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future,” which is just another front for the same lobbyists. (2015)
One of the current ads claims that opposing energy company plans is the same as “outsourcing Michigan jobs” in the utility industry. Well, it might be true that there would be fewer Michigan utility jobs. However, job creation should not be a utility company’s prime objective. They should reliably deliver electricity at reasonable rates. Which means no featherbedding.
Besides that, they don’t tell you they are in favor of outsourcing electricity generation in order to help meet Michigan’s ill-advised* renewable energy goals; This Michigan Utility Is Planning Your Energy Future: “[Consumers Energy] expects to rely heavily on electricity from out-of-state generators by 2040.” Lots of Michigan’s energy is planned to be purchased from other states, while Consumers’ own solar arrays will cover “between 25,000 to 35,000 acres by 2040.”
They neglect to mention that they lobby furiously to eliminate energy supplier choice (now capped at 10%), dramatically increasing costs for public schools. See also; Consumers Energy-funded group running ads against electric choice/deregulation
TOC mentioned “Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy” in 2014, when they were last found trying to increase your electricity costs by opposing consumer choice in electricity supply. They ran deceptive advertising then. They are doing it again.
Lobbyists have a First Amendment right to petition the government. I think you should have a balanced view of their agenda, and who these “citizens” are working for.
According to Consumers Energy’s spokesperson Katie Carey, “Our contributions to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy came from the company’s general funds and were not reflected in utility customer rates.” Well, since money is fungible – and could have been used to reduce rates, or pay dividends – I’m skeptical.
*Oh, by the way, here’s how windmill power worked out for Ontario: Ontario Wind Turbines