Energy bill package passes State Senate

LANSING — A pair of bills that proponents say will establish a strong foundation for the state’s next generation energy policy is headed to the Michigan House of Representatives.

Senate Bills 437 and 438 passed through the Senate on Thursday by a margin of more than two to one.

According to a release from 19th District Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek), who sponsored one of the bills, the package will include a new provision to ensure electric reliability and an enhanced process for evaluating future energy investments. The package also includes upgrades for distributed generation, net metering, and on-bill financing. A goal of meeting at least 35 percent of Michigan’s electric needs through energy waste reduction and renewable energy by 2025 would also be established by the legislation.

An amendment to one of the bills by Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) that would allow customer choice in the installation of smart electric meters on personal property was shot down before the bills were passed. Senator Colbeck was one of those who voted in opposition to both bills.

In Thursday’s Senate journal, he was quoted as saying the current legislation had no provisions that “would actually encourage the reduction of rates or improvement of quality or customer service to consumers.”

Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) was also counted among the opposing votes.