Michigan Jobs & Energy

Monday, May 6, 2013

Statewide energy survey shows utility customers prefer rate stability over risky market speculation

TargetPoint poll indicates nearly 80 percent of respondents are opposed to additional deregulation of Michigan’s electric industry

Alex Gage, TargetPoint ConsultingLANSING, Mich. – Michigan residents confirmed their overwhelming preference for stability and reliability in the electric industry, according to a recent poll of 895 registered voters conducted by TargetPoint Consulting of Alexandria, Va.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of those polled indicated that price stability – paying a regulated rate, with an understanding that monthly electric bills won’t fluctuate if usage remains consistent – is more important than having access to the volatile nature of energy market-based pricing.

When asked if they would be willing to accept lower levels of utility reliability – i.e., potentially more and longer power outages – voters balked.

“The results showed me a couple of things,” said TargetPoint CEO Alex Gage. “Many of the folks we spoke with have no desire to inject greater risk and instability to the electric utility system. There is absolutely no organic desire from Michigan voters to further deregulate.

“The voters do not see additional deregulation as an important part of the state’s agenda nor do they see it as having an impact on job creation, especially when confronted with real-life consequences that would remove protections, they are opposed to changes.”

Among the other noteworthy examples of customer preference from the survey:

• Only 2 percent (2%) of the respondents listed lower electric costs as one of the top two issues facing business owners when they decide to expand or relocate;

• Only 2 percent (2%) of the voters said that reforming the way utilities are regulated should command the greatest attention from the Legislature;

• On a list of energy issue priorities, almost 60 percent (59%) said keeping the price of electricity predictable and affordable should be a top priority.

“Michigan voters clearly prefer common-sense regulations that provide stability and reliability in the electric utility industry,” Gage said. “They strongly support a system that makes reliability a top priority.”

The TargetPoint Consulting poll of 895 registered Michigan voters was conducted via live operator phone calls from April 3-7, 2013, with an error margin of +/- 3.28 percent (3.28%) and a confidence level of 95 percent (95%). Fourteen percent (14%) of the calls were answered by cell phone.

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The Michigan Jobs & Energy Coalition (MJEC) supports energy laws that adapt to the changing needs of customers and the availability, reliability and affordability of energy sources, in addition to the construction of new baseload power plants and renewable energy facilities and energy policies that create jobs and improve Michigan’s economy.

The MJEC is comprised of Michigan’s major utilities, electric cooperatives and municipal electricity providers; major business organizations and industrial customers; labor organizations; economic development interests; and renewable energy and energy efficiency advocates, and many others. Visit www.MichiganJobsandEnergy.com for more information.

Michigan Jobs & Energy Coalition