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    Michigan residents and business owners have again raised the issue of the state's electricity deregulation policy, and the policy is set to gain another hearing in front of the state legislature, according to

    Michigan deregulated a portion of its electricity market starting in the late 1990s, but even still only around 10 percent of consumers have the option to switch electricity providers.

    Two non-profits, the Customer Choice Coalition and Energy Choice Now, have renewed the drive to expand the choice to more of the state. In response, State Senator Mike Nofs, the Republican chairman of the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee has agreed to hear testimony from the groups, particularly on the policy's impact on the state's businesses.

    "As the governor talks about economic gardening, one of the things he can do is allow companies that are investing and creating jobs here to take advantage of choice," Wayne Kuipers, executive director of Energy Choice Now, told

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that through July of this year, Michigan's industrial consumers have paid 14 percent more per kilowatt-hour than the rest of the Midwest and 8 percent more than the nation average. Residential customers have faced high prices as well, paying 12 percent and 11 percent above the regional and national averages, respectively.