News Story

Michigan senator rakes in donations from energy companies, blasts them on Twitter

Stephanie Chang accepts thousands in campaign contributions while demanding environmental justice

State Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, accepted campaign donations from the same energy companies she blasted on social media for prolonged power outages following a February ice storm.

Chang also retweeted a thread by Art Reyes III, founding executive director of Michigan We the People Action Fund. Reyes blames political payoffs for energy companies’ lack of accountability.

“Why is it this bad?” Reyes tweeted. “DTE pours money into our politics in Michigan because it’s paid off for them. They’ve effectively escaped much accountability despite consistent public outrage at awful service, long blackouts, and rising rates.”

Chang said in a tweet that the Legislature should reject DTE’s proposed residential rate increase, and she retweeted calls for legislative hearings on the power outages.

Chang received $2,500 in campaign contributions from DTE Energy in 2020, and another $1,000 in June 2021.

CMS Energy, parent company of Consumers Energy, also gave Chang a total of $2,250 for her previous campaigns.

Chang did not respond to requests for comment from Michigan Capitol Confidential.

“Michigan’s legislators need to focus their efforts on passing legislation that will either reinstate competitive electricity markets or impose minimum performance guarantees on utilities, which legislators have deliberately protected from competitive pressures,” says Jason Hayes, environmental policy director at the Mackinac Center.

Hayes says that utility companies and the Michigan Public Service Commission are continuing with what he calls a “dangerous net-zero program” to shut down reliable fossil and nuclear energy systems.

“Despite already paying electric rates 28% above the national average and 37% higher than those paid in neighboring Ohio, Michigan residents endure some of the least reliable electric services in the nation,” Hayes told CapCon.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.