Michigan introduced electricity deregulation in 2008, but chose an extremely limited form out of concern about the stability of the grid. After four years under this system, Steve Elsea of manufacturing firm Leggett & Platt Inc. writes for The Detroit News that the system needs to be changed to allow for more choice in electricity providers.
Elsea points to a speech from Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder, calling for the state to end some of the unnecessary regulatory burdens on its businesses. In terms of electricity, this burden amounts to more than $1 billion more paid on electricity bills above the regional average.
He notes that the average electricity rate in the state is 30 percent more than the rest of the Midwest, making it difficult for businesses to justify remaining, much less expanding.
Much of this he blames on the system of electricity deregulation that limits competition to only 10 percent of all electricity sold. This means that few retail electricity suppliers have much incentive to move into the market, keeping rates high, and fewer businesses have access to that choice.
Consumers Energy alone has 4,454 customers, accounting for nearly 3.6 million megawatt-hours of demand, waiting to gain access to retail electricity providers.