Alliance For Michigan Power

Alliance For Michigan Power is an organization with connections to monopoly utility company DTE Energy. The group originated from Michigan Energy First. Michigan Energy First incorporated in December 2014 and filed documents less than a year later to register Alliance For Michigan Power.

Alliance For Michigan Power logo

Michigan Energy First’s president is DTE Energy’s Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs Renze Hoeksema, and its treasurer is Theresa Uzenski, a manager of regulatory accounting at DTE Energy.

According to its 990 tax forms, Michigan Energy First has received over $28 million in contributions since 2014.

DTE Energy’s website points visitors to take action with Alliance For Michigan Power to “stay informed and involved in the energy debates that affect all of us.”

DTE Energy spokesperson Peter Ternes told Midwest Energy News that the utility is “part of the Alliance for Michigan Power coalition” and Hoeksema and Uzenski “serve in an advisory capacity” on the organizations’ boards “to provide information” about issues.

Alliance For Michigan Power’s website features pro-utility talking messages and blogs such as, “Here are five reasons why net metering is brewing a cauldron full of trouble for Michigan,” and “Know Your NEXUS: Pipeline Progress.”

Alliance For Michigan Power has also promoted Facebook advertisements in support of DTE Energy and Enbridge’s Nexus pipeline and former Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission John Quackenbush’s recent Detroit News’ opinion piece that attacked net metering and advocating for regulators to continue their pursuit of the “inflow/outflow model.” Critiques of the inflow/outflow model say rooftop solar customers are not adequately compensated for the power they send back to the grid.

The group is also hosting web pages for Michigan Energy Promise, and Michigan Energy Promise states that it is a “project” of the Alliance For Michigan Power. Michigan Energy Promise is a new front group. It registered with the state on January 2, 2019. According to Midwest Energy News, Michigan Energy Promise is backing DTE Energy’s position on net metering and other issues before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Self-employed political consultant Graham Davis’ LinkedIn profile shows that he worked for the Alliance For Michigan “project” in 2013 alongside DTE Energy and DDC Advocacy when he was the director of digital media at Truscott Rossman.

One of the first Twitter followers of Michigan Energy Promise was DDC Advocacy Senior Vice President William Bertles.

DDC Advocacy is a Washington D.C.-based public relations firm. It won a silver Pollie in the Internet category in 2014 for its work on behalf of DTE Energy on the Alliance for Michigan Power website. According to the American Association of Political Consultants website, the Pollie Awards are “the most prized and sought-after awards in the political communications and public affairs industries.”

Truscott Rossman is a Michigan lobbying and public relations firm. The CEO of the firm, John Truscott, managed the public relations for the 2012 DTE Energy and Consumers Energy-funded campaign to fight a 25% by 2025 renewable portfolio standard ballot proposal. Truscott Rossman’s website boasts of its success at its ability to work with the utilities to get energy legislation passed in 2016.

Ron Fournier, president of Truscott Rossman, is the spokesperson for Michigan Energy Promise. Fournier is also the former editor of Crain’s Detroit Business and former senior political columnist at the conservative National Journal magazine.

Alliance For Michigan Power got involved in Michigan’s 2018 elections. In the Republican primary for the 24th Senate District, Alliance For Michigan Power sent mailers in support of Brett Roberts, who ran and lost against Representative Tom Barrett. Months earlier, Rep. Barrett had slammed the PSC for effectively ending net metering in the state:

“This short-sighted decision is beyond what the legislative directive was in the 2016 energy bill, which sought to ensure that rooftop solar users were covering their grid costs … This decision makes it harder for farmers to find solutions for their families and businesses. I am dedicated to working with the governor and legislative leaders to fix this decision.”