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Michigan could face electricity shortage in the near future

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan could face an electricity shortagein the next few years.

New federal regulations are forcing many coal-fired power plants to shut down in 2016.  That will leave utilities with less capacity to generate electricity. The loss will be most noticeable on hot summer days, when demand for electricity soars in Michigan. 

“We’re not crying wolf yet,” Melissa Seymour told the state House Energy Policy committee today in Lansing. Seymour is the central region executive director with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO. MISO is the group that oversees the Midwest power grid.

Seymour says utilities and government regulators are looking for ways to maintain enough electricityin the system.

“If we don’t do something then we’re going to see an issue,” Seymour says. 

But what exactly to do remains a question. 

Sally Talberg is a member of the Michigan Public Service Commission. She says the state and utilities face tough questions.

“Do we build more generation?  If so, who?  What type?” Talberg cited as examples for the House committee. She also suggested other methods to promote conservation. 

Governor Snyder is expected to weigh in with his own energy plan later this month.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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