Business Owners Start YouTube Channel to Fight Electric Monopoly

MICHIGAN – Business owners around the state are speaking out about the effects of electric monopolies on a new YouTube channel.

A series of videos – featuring business owners forced to purchase their electricity from Consumers and DTE, alternate energy providers and former State Sen. Wayne Kuipers – is available for viewing at YouTube.com/micustomerchoice.

The videos were filmed shortly prior to a recent hearing of the Senate Energy and Technology committee on the impact of PA 286 of 2008, Michigan's energy law. PA286 capped electric competition at 10 percent.

Bill Zehnder, who owns the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, did not make it under the cap. His cousins, who operate Zehnder's Restaurant just north of the Bavarian Inn, did.

"We're right across the street from each other, and they're saving tens of thousands of dollars a year on electric rates," Zehnder says. "I have no choice – and that's why this legislation is so important."

Jonas McCluskey, president of the Elm Plating Company in Jackson, says it's getting harder and harder to do business in Michigan. Elm Plating is a family-owned plating, anodizing, and heat treating business that has been based in the state for nearly 65 years.

"If electrical rates continue to climb at the rate they have the last few years, we would have to take a serious look at moving the business elsewhere," McCluskey says.

Kuipers, the executive director of Energy Choice Now, a coalition of companies pushing for electric competition to lower rates, is calling on the Michigan Legislature to raise the 10 percent cap.

"Create a climate in Michigan that is open to competition," he says. "Allow them access to the choice market so they have the ability compete not only across the country, but across the world."

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