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    A recent report sponsored by several advocates of competitive energy markets has been widely cited in the past week, as it compiled data that show how well deregulated energy markets help customers save on the electricity bills.

    The report, "Retail Electric Competition in Michigan: Growing Michigan's Economic Garden," sought to show how Michigan residents are paying much more for their electricity rates with a lack of competition.

    "It's no coincidence that Michigan businesses, which are denied the opportunity to shop for electricity in the competitive market, suffer from the highest electricity rates in the Midwest and rates that are higher than the national average," said Wayne Kuipers, Executive Director of Energy Choice Now, referring to a cap that was placed on the amount of electricity that can be bought from retail providers.

    The report found that between 2000 and 2008 – when Michigan residents could choose their own electricity supplier – Michigan's electricity rates were closer to those of neighboring states. Residential customers suffered the worst, experiencing a 47 percent rate increase since 2008. Small commercial customers were also hit hard, with rates rising 30 percent in that period.