LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement in support of the MI Propane Security Plan announced today that ensures U.P. customers have affordable energy when Line 5 is shut down by investing in propane planning and cracking down on price gouging by companies.
“Gov. Whitmer’s MI Propane Security Plan takes proactive measures to reduce energy costs in the U.P. and ensure all customers across the state have ample and affordable propane into the future,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “While Enbridge Energy spends millions of dollars to sow fear and spread disinformation with TV ads, Gov. Whitmer is taking action right now to ensure there is absolutely no disruption in propane supply and corporations cannot use Line 5 as an excuse to price gouge and raise their rates. The fact is: there are clear alternatives to Line 5 and Gov. Whitmer isn’t waiting around to begin implementing them.”
According to a press release issued by the Michigan Public Service Commission, the plan does the following:
- Protect consumers from price gouging and provide accessible heating assistance for families in need. The Attorney General’s Corporate Oversight Division currently handles consumer complaints related to propane price gouging and has a zero-tolerance policy for price gouging under existing laws. The administration has worked to increase funding and restructure state assistance programs to allow for faster processing of bill payment assistance and to make access to benefits easier for Michigan’s most vulnerable households, including the needs of propane customers.
- Send clear signals to encourage market participants to invest in the development of alternative propane sourcing options. In November 2020, Governor Whitmer and the Department of Natural Resources notified Enbridge they were terminating its easement to run an oil pipeline through the Great Lakes based on persistent and incurable failures to comply with the terms of the easement. Additionally, the governor and DNR also revoked the easement under the governor’s public trust responsibilities. It’s an unacceptable risk the current dual pipelines pose to the Great Lakes’ health and millions of jobs across the region. This action sent as clear a signal as possible to propane retailers and other propane suppliers, who are responding to this opportunity.
- Leverage the tools of state government to encourage the development of alternative sourcing options. The state is working with industry to secure alternative propane deliverability and sourcing options like pipelines, rail, and storage. Governor Whitmer’s FY 2022 Executive Budget Recommendation includes strategic investments to assist with the propane transition, including funding for new rail infrastructure and storage of propane at rail yards, and planning grants for local development organizations to ensure strategic infrastructure planning and the development of local supply alternatives to deliver propane. To protect Michigan residents during the 2021-2022 heating season, the state will prioritize propane storage, as Michigan has some of the nation’s largest propane reservoirs. In addition, the state is working to pre-buy propane to lock in supplies for Michigan, and is aggressively identifying other sources for propane beyond Line 5.
- Monitor propane supply and coordinate responses to potential disruptions with the energy industry. MPSC houses the Propane Monitoring and Assurance Program within its Energy Security Section. Through this program, the MPSC performs several critical functions, such as monitoring state, regional, and national energy supplies, infrastructure outages, and other factors that could cause an energy imbalance; participating in coordination calls with industry and governmental agencies to share information on propane supplies, price and potential disruptions; and maintaining and updating the Petroleum Shortage Response Plan to manage limited supplies and reduce overall demand.
- Maximize propane efficiency while reducing energy costs in Michigan through efficiency, weatherization, and the transition to electrification and renewable energy.