Whether or not you live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, if you care about the U.P. as a place to visit, work, go to school—or just appreciate it as an asset to the state—please take a minute to learn about a federal decision that will affect all energy consumers in the 906 area code. And then jot a note to the folks involved to get them to reconsider the situation.
This is about a change in the way the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette is funded, a change that shifted 100% of the responsibility for the Wisconsin Energy-owned plant to consumers in the Eastern U.P. It means a major financial hit on everyone and every business here, from residents—Yoopers—to industry, hospitals, schools, churches and grocery stores.
Consider the impact on the bike rentals and fudge shops and Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, the mom and pop motels along Lake Superior, pasty kitchens on US-2, museums and roadside attractions, taverns and coffee shops, and on and on.
You may have seen the article in the Detroit Free Press about changes at the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette resulting in rate increases that will cost everyone out-of-pocket in fees to support that plant. This is not a rate increase; it is a fee assessed to keep that plant open and to pay for EPA-required changes.
These additional fees will have a ripple effect that will cause major stress on the economy in the U.P. Beginning January 1, 2015, residents can, on average, expect an increase of $600 per year and small commercial customers would have to come up with another $6,000 a year. Larger institutions will owe much more than that.
Eventually the impact of this financial hit will be felt by the entire state in terms of small businesses closed, others will be crippled by the outrageous fees, higher costs as survivors—companies, schools, hospitals, etc.—try to recoup those dollars, and jobs and tax dollars lost.
To read the article, click below:
TJ and I attended an informational meeting conducted by Cloverland Electrical Cooperative at the Newberry High School Thursday evening, October 30.
A crowd of about 200 concerned citizens and business owners attended. Almost everyone signed the petition that Cloverland will forward to key players. This was one of a series of such meetings our electric supplier is conducting across the Eastern U.P., and turnout has been strong at each.
Cloverland CEO Dan Dasho explained the complicated mess (see link below). It seems as though the vocal, letter-writing residents and businesses of the U.P. are being heard in Lansing and D.C., and he encouraged all of us to express our concern to officials in Lansing, D.C. and at the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).
The immediate goal is to slow down the implementation of the changes and resulting rate increases until the arguments are heard and a solution found. At best it will be a compromise that will still mean a rate increase but one not as dramatic as what we in the U.P. are certainly facing.
There was plenty of audience feedback during the discussion period, and it is clear from the comments that many folks will have trouble paying the increased rates at home. Testimony was touching and troubling.
Small businesses in attendance had no doubt that some will be forced to close. Larger entities (businesses, hospitals, schools) will pass the increases on to the consumers as well as the workforce. As examples, Dasho mentioned meetings with Lake Superior State University and the Manistique paper company; the results were not pretty. The ripple effect will be devastating.
Long story short, the main thing we can do at this time is make our voices heard.
Everyone is encouraged to write a short and strong message ASAP. Write to MISO, to Governor Rick Snyder, Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representative Dan Benishek, State Rep Frank Foster and/or your State Rep, wherever you are. See the link below for addresses.
Click here for a sample letter suggested by the Sault Ste. Marie Visitors Bureau. It’s a good summary of the situation but yours need not be that long. It does need to be mailed—and soon.
Here is a link to the contact information for the president of MISO, Lansing and DC reps and the Governor’s office: http://www.cloverland.com/Files/Contacts%20Only.pdf
Here is link to the Cloverland Call to Action page: http://www.cloverland.com/homepageScroller/calltoaction_copy1.aspx
Here is a link to Dasho’s presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbmO3nGcso
I hope you take a few minutes to jot a note or even a postcard to the folks listed at the link above.