Michigan Has Choice in Both Electricity and Natural Gas Markets
While Michigan's system for electricity deregulation is a little on the complicated side, the natural gas market is pretty clear cut. The natural gas market in Michigan was deregulated beginning in 2001, with all four utilities currently offering residents and businesses a choice of gas supply being on board by October 2002.
You have a choice of natural gas provider in these service areas:
Electricity has had a bumpier road. The legislature initially passed the bill allowing for statewide electricity competition in the summer of 2000, but since that time the Michigan Public Service Commission has limited the scope somewhat. Today there are several rules in place to determine whether you have the option to shop for electricity.
You have a choice of electricity providers if:
- You are a customer of an investor-owned utility
- You are a customer of a member-owned distribution company with ≥200 kilowatts of demand
- If your municipal utility board allows it or if your utility isn't regulated by the MPSC
- Your utility has less than 10% of its consumer load subscribed to an alternative electric supplier (in accordance with state law).
There are two sure ways to figure out whether you are able to choose your electricity provider.
- Call your utility, or
- Enter your ZIP code now to compare any options available to you from the SaveOnEnergy.com® provider network!
Limited Electricity Choices in Michigan
Most of Michigan has operated under deregulation laws since 2000 when the legislature initially passed the bill allowing for statewide electricity competition. But since the law's passage, there have been several restrictions put in place by lawmakers.
Can you choose your electric provider in Michigan? Maybe. In addition to varying rules in municipalities, only a limited number of residents can choose an alternative supplier. In 2008, Michigan legislators passed a bill to restrict retail competition in the state. The law states that no more than 10 percent of electricity in a utility's service area can come from alternative electric suppliers. If you want to exercise your power to choose a retail supplier in Michigan, you have to act fast! After the cap has been reached, customers who want to switch get put on a waiting list.
If you are one of the lucky few who get to choose an alternative energy supplier, you will still work closely with your utility. Suppliers can sell you an electricity supply plan directly based on wholesale market prices, but they don't deliver it. Your utility owns the infrastructure capable of distributing power to its service area. Therefore, your utility is responsible for the delivery of power, as well as maintaining the power lines in your neighborhood. For its service, you'll see a charge from the utility on your bill even if you receive your supply from a retail provider.
You might wonder what all the hype is about when it comes to electric choice. For many, it comes down to the options switching provides. By shopping for an alternative supplier, you could potentially find a lower rate than your utility offers. In addition, you might discover a plan option that better suits your household's needs. Regardless of what you value in a retail supplier, sometimes it's just nice to get a choice.
Acting on Your Choice of Natural Gas Suppliers
In the past, the utility was the only option when it came to setting up your natural gas service. Now the process has been separated into two sections: supply and delivery. As its name suggests, a retail supplier provides the supply portion of your natural gas service. The utility, on the other hand, will continue to deliver natural gas as it always has.
There are dozens of competitive natural gas companies in Michigan. After the market opened up to competition, retail suppliers began entering the market to fill the need brought on by customer choice. Today, you have your pick of companies and can choose the provider that best fits your natural gas needs. With so many options from competing companies, it's easy to find a great deal on your natural gas supply by doing some comparison shopping.
If you choose a retail supplier, your utility will still charge for delivery of your natural gas supply, just as it always has. Prior to deregulation utilities also charged customers a rate for their natural gas supply, and still will if you choose your utility as your supplier. However, under deregulation laws Michigan residents have the option to purchase their natural gas supply from an alternative supplier.
In many cases, a retail supplier offers competitive rates that might be lower than the utility's supply rate. All you have to do is spend a few minutes comparing your options and you could find a better rate for your natural gas supply today.
Remember, while low prices are important there are more factors you should consider when selecting a retail natural gas supplier. While the rate you pay for natural gas should factor into your decision, the quality of service offered by your provider can play a huge role in your satisfaction with your purchase. Make sure you examine the retailers in your area closely to make an educated choice.
Energy Retailers in Michigan:
Contact Information for Utilities in Michigan
Four utilities in Michigan offer choice programs for natural gas supply. That means you can choose to purchase natural gas from an alternative supplier in the Michigan energy market. Remember, if you notice a natural gas emergency, you should get to a safe location and contact your utility immediately.
Consumers Energy Company
Report a gas emergency: 1-800-477-5050
DTE Gas Company
Report a gas emergency: 1-800-947-5000
Customer service: 1-800-477-4747
Michigan Gas Utilities (MGU)
Report a gas emergency: 1-800-401-6451
Customer service: 1-800-401-6402
SEMCO Energy Gas Company
Report a gas emergency: 1-888-427-1427
Customer service: 1-800-624-2019