Survey: 80 Percent of Michigan Residents Support Upgrading State's Power Lines To Create Thousands of New Jobs


DETROIT – Plans to upgrade Michigan power lines are strongly supported by Michigan consumers, according to a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey for the 21st Century Jobs Coalition. The plan would create thousands of new high-paying jobs, save consumers money, and introduce more clean energy into the state.

Conducted between February 13-15, 2012 among a sample of 600 Michigan adults, the survey found:

  • Four out of five state residents support the upgraded electric transmission infrastructure as a means to create high-paying jobs. It is projected that Michigan will benefit from 1600-3700 new construction-related jobs and 2600-7000 total jobs, including construction, supplier and other downstream opportunities.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 state residents (86 percent) support the upgraded electric transmission system in order to lower utility bills.  An average residential consumer will pay about $11 per year and receive $23 in lower energy costs per year. These benefits come from more use of cheaper energy sources, and a more efficient distribution system.
  • More than three out of four state residents (76 percent) favor the enhanced power lines to allow for greater access to cleaner wind energy for Michigan. Improved transmission lines will allow for better integration of wind and other renewable energy sources into the system.

Fred Anderson, coordinator, 21st Century Jobs Coalition, said: “A better electricity transmission system for Michigan is going to be good for jobs, consumers and the environment.  Michigan residential consumers and businesses are paying more for their electricity than they should . Rates here are higher than any other state in the Midwest, due in part to our reliance on old and inefficient power lines that hamper our prospects for attracting the companies and jobs of the future. “

Tom Jensen, director, Public Policy Polling, said: “These survey findings show right across the board that Michigan consumers understand the link between an improved electricity infrastructure in the state and the issues of jobs, pocketbook savings for seniors and other consumers, and expanded access to clean energy.”

Other Survey Highlights

  • 85 percent of those over 65 in Michigan say they would either “welcome” or “not oppose” a “plan helping to lower the cost of heating my home in the winter …” About two fifths of Michigan seniors (38 percent) said they currently find it hard to pay their utility bills.
  • When told about the projected two-to-one benefits for consumers resulting from an upgraded electricity infrastructure, about two thirds of Michigan residents (65 percent) said they were more likely to support the overhaul plan.
  • More than seven out of 10 Michigan residents (71 percent) say they support improved power lines to “make it possible to bring in more clean energy, like wind power, which would reduce harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels in power plants.”

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent at the full sample level.