This ‘Sleepy Old Monopoly’ Jams Region’s Highest Energy Rates on Michigan

Patricia Poppe, president and CEO of CMS Energy, did an interview with Crain’s Detroit Business recently. Better known as Consumers Energy, CMS is a regulated monopoly that provides natural gas and electricity to millions of Michigan residents.

In the article, Poppe stated, “I think a lot of people think of the utility is sort of a sleepy old monopoly that really doesn’t care about prices because they’re guaranteed the customer base. We’re not guaranteed that people will move to Michigan. We have to be part of the attraction to Michigan, and that’s why we’re so committed to economic development for Michigan.”

“We want to be part of the reason why companies can say yes. The last thing we want is somebody to say, ‘Oh, I’d come to Michigan but your electric prices are too high,’” Poppe said.

Consumers Energy didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

FortheRecord says: Consumers Energy appears to be exactly what Poppe claims it is not — “a sleepy old monopoly that really doesn’t care about prices" because the state guarantees that consumers have nowhere else to go.

Under the provisions of a law passed in 2008, Consumers Energy is guaranteed 90 percent of the commercial and retail electricity customers in its operating area.

And in Michigan, residential customers pay the highest electricity in the region. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Michigan residents paid 15.70 cents per kilowatt-hour in August 2017. That’s higher than the rate in Illinois (12.59), Indiana (11.97), Ohio (12.62) and Wisconsin (14.98). Those five states make up the East North Central region in the federal government’s classification of states. The national average was 13.19 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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.