Newsletter: Senate Hearing on Homeowner Energy Freedom Bill, Testimony on Performance Incentives and I&M Rate Case

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:


Michigan EIBC Senior Director of Policy Grace Michienzi testifying before the Mich. Senate Committee on Housing and Human Services.

Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Bill Expanding Energy Freedom for Homeowners

The Michigan Senate Committee on Housing and Human Services is considering HB 5028, a bill to allow homeowners to make energy-saving improvements to their homes and prohibit homeowners’ associations’ rules from blocking these improvements. At a Feb. 13 hearing before the committee, bill sponsor Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton) and Michigan EIBC Senior Director of Policy Grace Michienzi testified in support of the bill.

The Michigan House of Representatives passed the bill Nov. 1.

The types of improvements covered by the bill include, but are not limited to, solar panels, EV supply equipment, reflective roofing, solar water heaters, air-source heat pumps and insulation, Rep. Puri said in testimony. “This bill would ensure that homeowners would have the ability to pursue energy-saving improvements for their home and make decisions about where their energy comes from. This bill instills the power back to the homeowner.”

In her testimony, Michienzi noted that neighboring states like Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio have passed similar legislation. “It’s important that Michigan catch up to its neighboring states by protecting homeowners’ abilities to lower their own energy costs,” she said.

Utility Performance-Based Incentives Need to be Limited And Penalties Need To Be Emphasized, Michigan EIBC and Advanced Energy United Argue

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is getting closer to drafting rules meant to push Michigan utilities toward better performance on reliability through a financial incentive/disincentive mechanism, and many commenters, including Michigan EIBC and its trade organization member Advanced Energy United, are asking the MPSC not to offer utilities incentives while their performance on outages is so poor.

Several Michigan cities are registering their disapproval of the MPSC Staff’s proposal for financial incentives if utilities hit certain performance metrics, the Detroit News recently reported. “Ann Arbor opposes any mechanism that would give an ‘extra’ financial reward (bonus, incentive payment, etc.) for a utility that improves its reliability to a minimally-compliant level,” the city of Ann Arbor said in comments to the MPSC.

Michigan EIBC and United also submitted comments decrying the idea of offering incentives unless and until utilities can bring their performance on outages consistently up to minimum standards. “Michigan EIBC/United cannot emphasize enough that incentives should not be used to provide financial rewards to a utility for meeting its basic service obligations, for which the utilities are suitably rewarded via the traditional cost-of-service business model,” our comments said. We recommended that the MPSC set a rule that “any utility must not be considered eligible for an incentive until it continuously exceeds all service quality and reliability standards for at least 12 months.”

Still, Michigan EIBC and United see potential in the use of penalties for poor utility performance. Our comments “applaud[ed] the Staff’s proposed use of financial penalties to encourage the utilities to improve their reliability,” and said that “by tying each utility company’s financial performance to reliability improvements, the Commission is ensuring that motivation and accountability is shared across the company, from the engineers working in distribution system operations to the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer.”

Michigan EIBC and United have consistently called for performance-based rules as the right approach to set Michigan up for better reliability. But it is important that the rules be crafted appropriately from the start.

Once the right rules are in place, performance incentives and disincentives can then be a foundation for more innovative approaches. “Because improving reliability and distribution system performance can be accomplished in a growing number of ways, future consideration of incentive and disincentive mechanisms should also broadly address resilience, enhancing and sharing hosting capacity information, exceeding allowed interconnection timeframes, integration of distributed energy resources and microgrids, and implementing other aspects of grid modernization,” our comments said. “Such efforts are essential to ensure that electric utilities are taking all of the necessary steps to meet Michigan’s clean energy goals.”

Michigan EIBC, IEI and United File Testimony Calling for Renewed Distributed Generation Program for Indiana Michigan Power Customers

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) needs to end its unfair treatment of distributed generation customers and return to its previous credit paid for outflows from rooftop solar and other DG projects, while notifying customers who previously had their applications to the utility’s DG program denied that they can reapply, according to testimony filed by Michigan EIBC, Advanced Energy United and the Institute for Energy Innovation in I&M’s ongoing electric rate case.

Last spring I&M announced its residential DG program had hit its cap and the utility would not be signing up new customers in its service territory who want to connect their residential rooftop solar installations. Then, the utility said it wanted to offer to future DG customers the unworkable solution of having them sign long-term contracts with unreasonable fees.

Our testimony, from expert witness Jason Hoyle of EQ Research, calls for the MPSC to force I&M to correct the situation by reinstating its DG program using the same approach to calculate the credit for electricity outflow as was used previously.

The testimony also asked the MPSC to “require I&M to notify customers whose systems are not yet in service but who submitted an application and were denied access to the DG  program after the May 15, 2023 cut-off date, and that I&M provide some reasonably efficient and simple mechanism to enable these customers to participate in the DG program under the re-opened, existing DG Rider.” 

A recommendation from an administrative law judge, typically one of the last milestones before the MPSC issues an order in a rate case, is scheduled in this case for May 9.

Registration Open for 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference in East Lansing on April 24

Registration is now open for Michigan EIBC’s most popular event of the year! Our 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 24 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Get your tickets now!

For information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please click here or contact Brianna Gerard at

Stay tuned for announcements about speakers and panels soon!

Thank you to our sponsors:






New Member

WIT Inc.
WIT is an analytics and automation consulting firm with over 25 years of experience. We help our clients build solutions to maximize the value of their data and analytics assets, and automate key business processes. In partnership with elite software companies, WIT’s capabilities span a broad spectrum of business functions and industry verticals.  


Renewing Member

EDF Renewables

EDF Renewables Distribution-Scale Power team provides industry-leading, cost-effective development, engineering, construction, and operations of solar and storage projects.  Solutions are customized for utilities, co-ops, landowners, communities, and institution.   The team specializes in community solar and environmentally sensitive sites and has developed over 1400+ MW of solar and storage projects across the United States.

Michigan Energy News

  • A Planet Detroit investigation reveals the interests funding the attempt to overturn the renewable energy project siting law with a ballot initiative, and talks to Michigan EIBC Director of Policy Justin Carpenter about the misinformation campaigns that made that law essential.
  • Michigan’s new siting law “is going to open up the market, cut red tape, reduce restrictions for businesses, create jobs, and enhance economic opportunities,” Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman is quoted as saying in a story from Harvest Public Media.
  • Democrats in Lansing hold hearings on bills to expand the prevailing wage law and add private renewable energy projects to the type of projects covered by the law.
  • Gov. Whitmer announces the launch of the Community & Worker Economic Transition Office 
  • The Michigan Public Service Commission issues orders beginning the process of implementing new energy laws.
  • Detroit’s Chaldean Town neighborhood is one of several areas the city is considering for solar projects to power municipal buildings.

National Energy News

  • Arizona regulators take a step toward eliminating the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards in a move decried by efficiency advocates.
  • EV and charging system manufacturers must collaborate more with electric utilities to establish performance standards for “grid-friendly EV charging,” the North American Electric Reliability Corp. says in a white paper.
  • Environmental agencies in nine states sign an agreement calling for heat pumps to make up 90% of residential heating, air conditioning and water heating sales by 2040.
  • Maryland’s ratepayer advocate calls on FERC to reject the proposed allocation of $5.1 billion in transmission costs by PJM, saying Virginia should have to shoulder more of the costs due to the construction of data centers in that state driving the transmission investments.
  • The CEO of Norwegian battery company Freyr Battery talks to Inside Climate News about the Inflation Reduction Act’s impacts on his company’s plans to build battery manufacturing in the U.S.

Job Board

Attention Michigan EIBC members: if you have a job announcement you would like in the newsletter, please send a paragraph describing the position and a link to apply to Matt Bandyk at Please include in the email a specific end date for the job posting.


Senior Associate, Impact Capital. Location: Chicago, Ill.

The Senior Associate, Impact Capital is an integral part of the Elevate’s Impact Capital team working to pilot and scale financial tools that support Elevate’s work to advance equity through climate action. As part of the Impact Capital team, the Senior Associate, Impact Capital is responsible for identifying and building relationships with potential borrowers for loan products, providing excellent customer service while supporting applicants through the underwriting process and assisting with loan closings. Additionally, the Senior Associate will assist in implementing the infrastructure and systems needed to support growth and program expansion over the next few years. The ideal candidate for this dynamic position excels at outreach, likes to create and improve processes, is very detail oriented, has experience or is interested in learning about financial statements, and is comfortable with iterative processes.

Grants Administrator. Location: Chicago. Ill.

Our Grants and Contracts team has an opening! Do you, or someone you know, have a minimum of three (3+) years of progressively responsible, relevant experience in accounting and grants administration? The Grants Administrator supports Elevate’s existing programs and expansion of new business development opportunities by managing compliance and accounting of Elevate’s grants, awards, and contracts. The Grants Administrator provides fiscal and accounting support to ensure proper use and reporting, budgeting, and billing of grants (including federal), cooperative agreements, and contracts. The position works closely with Elevate’s program managers, development, legal, and the finance and accounting team.


Michigan and National Energy Events

Michigan EIBC and Michigan EGLE’s Home Energy Rebate Convening is scheduled for Feb. 21 in Ann Arbor. Register here.

Michigan EIBC’s 12th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Conference will be held April 24 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing. Get your tickets now!



The Michigan Public Service Commission has created a website tracking its progress implementing Public Acts 229, 231, 233, 234, and 235, passed on Nov. 8, 2023 and signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 28.

Invest In Our Future is hiring for several positions, including a Program Manager with regional connections in the Midwest.

Climate Power is hiring a Michigan States Desk temporary position. This is a remote, temporary position to support work through the election cycle “to drive the narrative on how the Inflation Reduction Act and the clean energy boom are benefiting residents.” Find out more here.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is hiring an Engineer in its Energy & Recycling Section. Find out more here.

The MPSC has released a request for proposals for a $21.3 million renewable energy and electrification infrastructure enhancement and development grant program. Applications are due Feb. 21

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office has issued a funding opportunity announcement for concentrating solar power and photovoltaic. The final deadline is March 6Learn more here.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office has announced a $38 million funding opportunity focused on cross-sector technologies for industrial decarbonization. Applications are due March 20Learn more here.

Michigan EGLE has several open grant applications related to energy efficiency for businesses, local governments, tribal governments and farmers, as well as support for public, private, or nonprofit entities for deploying publicly available fast-charging electric vehicle stations along the Lake Michigan Circuit. These applications have various deadlines from January to March of 2024. Find more information here.

Michigan EGLE has several open grant applications related to energy efficiency for businesses, local governments, tribal governments and farmers, as well as support for public, private, or nonprofit entities for deploying publicly available fast-charging electric vehicle stations along the Lake Michigan Circuit. These applications have various deadlines from January to March of 2024Find more information here.

On April 9, DTE is tentatively planning to issue an All Source Renewable Energy RFP. Email for more information.

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued a funding opportunity announcement for grants to “fund research, development, and prototype or pilot scale technology validation and demonstration activities that will accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable technologies that increase efficiency and eliminate industrial GHG emissions for the most energy- and emissions- intensive industrial subsectors.” The deadline is June 11Learn more here,