Lawmakers investigate high energy bill complaints - WNEM TV 5

Lawmakers investigate high energy bill complaints

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Dozens of residents reached out to TV5 about their skyrocketing energy bills.

Now state lawmakers want answers from Consumers Energy.

In Lansing, lawmakers heard from energy companies and families across the state who say they are fed up with the massive increases.

“We’re not just talking about homeowners, but the rising cost of electricity for manufacturers, agricultural farmers, ad production and processing facilities,” State Rep. Gary Glenn said.

As higher energy bills continue to frustrate residents across Mid-Michigan, state lawmakers are trying to figure out what is causing the spike.

“We have the highest electricity rates in the Midwest, which makes Michigan non-competitive,” Glenn said.

Glenn is the chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, which grilled representatives from Consumers Energy looking for answers.

Glenn has long backed a move to free market electricity. He said the lack of choice is bad for businesses and homeowners.

While some representatives say they want the option of choice, others believe house energy bills should come from under one roof.

“The reason we have electric utilities is because it’s more efficient to have single power plants, single wire to the house providing that,” State Rep. Donna Lasinski said.

Lasinski said bringing in more providers would not solve the problem. She said she understands residents are upset now, but she believes regulating only one service is the best option in the long run.

“The electric utility industry was set up as a regulated monopoly more than 100 years ago. And that’s something that our committee is consistently looking at and evaluating,” Lasinski said.

Consumers Energy issues a press release saying it is hearing concerns from Michigan residents and businesses about higher than normal energy bills this winter. The company said it is doing everything it can to help people stay warm and safe, while ensuring affordable energy for all customers during the coldest months of the year.

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