Earley Tells House Committee Electric Choice Needs Fix

Financial assurances essential for investment

DETROIT, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Anthony F. Earley Jr. today told the House Energy and Technology Committee that the much needed investment of billions of dollars to construct clean, affordable and reliable energy for Michigan's future will not occur unless the state's Electric Choice program is fixed.

Earley's comments follow last week's introduction of a legislative package now under consideration by the committee. The legislative package, spearheaded by the committee chairman, Rep. Frank Accavitti, supports an increase in energy efficiency, expands renewable energy requirements and reforms the Electric Choice portion of PA 141 that has prevented the assurances necessary to finance the construction of new power plants.

"I would like to emphasize the importance of the entire legislative package with tie-bars to all of the various pieces in the plan," Earley said. "Viewed individually, none would offer a workable policy for Michigan's future. Viewed in their totality, the package represents a plan that will diversify Michigan's future generation mix, make the state more energy efficient, accelerate the development of renewable energy resources, and create a new regulatory construct."

One of the bills, introduced by Rep. Accavitti and other co-sponsors, reforms a portion of PA 141 by providing for a one-time Electric Choice election policy.

The state's Electric Choice program was established in 2000. Earley maintains that the past seven years have provided Michigan electric customers the opportunity to determine whether they prefer utility service or alternative market supplier service.

"Once the customer makes a supplier election, both the utility and the alternative suppliers will gain knowledge around the size of the customer base they will be serving in the future," Earley explained. "This policy will give Detroit Edison enough clarity to go to Wall Street for the financing we need to invest in Michigan's power plants or in the wind turbines we plan to construct to meet the renewable portfolio standard requirement in the proposed legislation."

In addition, Earley applauded elements of the legislation that he said would bring jobs and economic development to Michigan, protect the environment, and help maintain affordable electric rates.

"You have a unique opportunity to meet this critical challenge now," Earley told the committee. "The package of bills offers a path to a clean, affordable and reliable energy future for Michigan. I urge you to complete your work. Michigan needs a comprehensive new energy policy and it needs it now."


CONTACT: Lorie N. Kessler, +1-313-235-8807, or Len Singer,
+1-313-235-8809, both of DTE Energy

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