Ol' Ready Kilowatt is feeling pretty chipper today. He got a raise!
Last year, the legislature approved a bill to force electric and gas utilities to move towards a "renewable portfolio standard." Ten percent of the state's energy must come from renewable sources by 2015 according to this law. But because it is impossible to achieve without huge cost increases to the utility companies, the legislature allowed them to raise your rates with a new surcharge (tax) to cover the cost.
According to a story in the Jackson Citizen Patriot, electric bills will go up seventy-one cents a month starting next week. Gas bills will increase $1.72 per month and then, in September, electric bills will have an additional $2.50 per month added on. The utilities wanted $10.00 per month, and eventually they will get it, I predict.
Here is a story about how some small businesses are being affected by the rate increases, which are much larger for them. It is not good for business. But, if you want to read the positive spin, here is a letter from Governor Granholm about how "11,000 jobs" have been created in clean, renewable energy.
Oh, you will notice one of the new industries she announced as coming to Michigan to create those jobs is United Solar Ovonic. The governor proudly announced in March, 2006, hundreds of new jobs would be created with this company. Millions of taxpayer dollars in grants from the MEDC along with tax breaks were offered. Sadly, it was announced this month that they are laying off most of their workforce.
So, what we have is central planners (legislators and the governor) telling us what the next big thing is going to be, laying out millions in grants, and forcing new taxes on rate payers to cover the cost of "going green." And what we end up with is higher rates, at least one business going bust with your tax dollars, and existing small businesses (who aren't getting any MEDC grants) getting closer to going under. The experts in Lansing strike again.