Saturday, October 1, 2011

Court Kill Heating Assistance and Renewable Energy with One Stone

Not only are we watching heating assistance for 95,000 low income families come to an abrupt end with no resolution or action from our legislature. But we also get to watch the de-funding of a Lake Michigan platform for researching the viability of offshore wind power.

Two in one blow!

The Michigan Public Service Commission set up and administers the "Low Income and Energy Efficiency Fund" as per the Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act of 2000.

What does it do? For one, it helps low income families pay for heat in the winter. It ALSO invests in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It has for most of a decade.

But that was then. This is now:

"The courts earlier this summer ruled that the Public Service Commission did not have legislative authority in the latest Michigan energy law to fund the Low Income and Energy Efficiency Fund

The Michigan Public Service Commission, under new law, no longer has the AUTHORITY to FUND the Low Income and Energy Efficiency Fund.

Nor does it have the authority to GRANT funds from it. The court ruling earlier suggested that LIEEF was not about energy regulation (the mission of the Public Service Commission), but was a form of welfare, and therefore, the PSC has no authority to fund LIEEF, administer LIEEF, or grand funds from LIEEF.

Who does?


Who cares, right?

Does it really matter? The same Conservative leadership that shoved thousands of Michigan families out on the streets today during the worst jobs crisis in generations, now gets to stand by and watch 95,000 Michiganders off from heating assistance with no action.

And as a bonus, they get to deal a massive wound to renewable energy efforts.

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