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New law gives solar panel parts manufacturer a break on its electric bill

Hemlock Semiconductor

Governor Snyder has signed a bill that will give one Michigan company a break on its electricity bills from Consumers Energy.

Hemlock Semiconductor near Saginaw makes parts for solar panels.

James Clift is with the Michigan Environmental Council. He says his group opposed the bill because other customers will have to subsidize Hemlock's lower rate.

But he says it will probably be less than thirty or forty cents a month per resident.

"In the big scheme of what electricity costs, and (because) the costs are spread around, it won't be a huge increase," Clift says. "I don't think people will notice it."

Consumers Energy says Hemlock Semiconductor uses 7% of the electricity it provides statewide, and the lower rate is important to keep the company as a paying customer.

The utility says otherwise, Hemlock Semiconductor might choose to build its own natural gas plant, and leave the grid, which could raise costs even more for the remaining customers.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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