Michigan AG wants to know what power companies are doing to prevent more power outages


LANSING, Mich. – Thousands of people were without power, some for several days, after inclement weather moved through the Detroit metro area.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel spoke with Hank Winchester, Local 4, and revealed his intention to hold utility companies to account.

During the latest round of storms, DTE Energy called in teams from all over to help with the response. The majority of the 900,000 affected customers were restored within Sunday’s deadline. There were about 40,000 still without electricity on Monday evening.

“I’m frustrated. But I’m half as frustrated as their clients are,” Nessel said.

The Nessel team is asking Michigan residents who were affected by large power outages in August to share their comments with the state. The Nessel team uses the information gathered to work with DTE Energy to avoid further problems.

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Nessel and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent letters to DTE Energy and Consumers Energy encouraging them to offer credit to customers who have been affected by the outages. The letter increased the number of credits offered to customers by DTE Energy from $ 25 to $ 125. Consumers Energy is now offering $ 25.

To get credit for the last storm, your electricity had to be off for 120 consecutive hours to qualify, as the weather event was considered non-catastrophic.

DTE Energy and Consumers Energy spent millions on system updates. DTE has significantly stepped up the tree pruning effort. Nessel wants real numbers and real insight into how the money is being used and what will be done to limit outages in the future.

If another big storm cuts your power, you should contact DTE and consumers daily and let them know that you are still without power. Document every contact you have with the power company.

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DTE Energy has issued the following statement:

“We appreciate the Attorney General’s attention to clients who have experienced difficulties caused by the series of severe storms that have swept through Michigan in recent weeks.

This recent round of dangerous weather conditions, including wind gusts of up to 75 mph, has been responsible for record-breaking rainfall, extreme flooding and uprooted trees that have destroyed homes, wiped out businesses and inundated some of our major road networks. and highways. DTE has experienced nine storms in the past nine weeks, five of which have reached catastrophic outage levels. In our history, DTE has never experienced nine storms in nine weeks, and we have never experienced five catastrophic failure level storms in a summer. Due to the extensive damage caused by storms and floods, Governor Whitmer was successful in securing a declaration of major disaster from the federal government for Michigan to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in recovery assistance.

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DTE is actively working in the communities hardest hit by these recent storms to improve our service while accelerating efforts to reduce future outages for all of our customers.

Trees are responsible for two-thirds of the time DTE customers spend without power. This is why, over the past decade, we have tripled our investment in our tree pruning program and added more tree cutters to our work plans, so we can quickly get to where we are. neighborhoods that have been inundated by recent storms and floods. In the communities where we have completed this tree pruning work and upgraded our infrastructure, customers are seeing reliability improvements of 50-70%, and we are actively working to extend this improved performance more widely in our service territory. .

DTE is also the largest capital investor in Michigan and a significant part of our investment involves replacing infrastructure such as cables, poles and upgrading electrical substations to better meet Michigan’s energy needs. We work closely with customers, community leaders and regulators to regularly seek feedback, approvals and public disclosures regarding our infrastructure projects designed to improve our energy service.

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In the wake of the last catastrophic storm to sweep through Michigan, DTE applied automatic bill credits to eligible and affected accounts receivable. Going forward, we will seek oversight advice from the Michigan Public Service Commission on how to administer bill credits to customers who may be adversely affected by outages in the future.

DTE electricity tariffs have not changed since May 2020 and will remain unchanged until the end of 2022.

For clarity, customers will not receive a credit of $ 125. There are two separate credits that will be applied to the customer’s account, one for $ 100 and one for $ 25. Not all customers will receive both credits. See the statement below.

DTE Energy is proactively applying reliability credits of $ 25 to the accounts of customers affected by the August 11 storm, in cases where their outages have totaled more than 120 hours. Additionally, we proactively apply $ 25 credits to customers who have experienced eight or more outages in the past twelve months. Customers who meet these two conditions will receive both credits for a total of $ 50.

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In addition to these reliability credits, we issued a $ 100 credit for customers who suffered an outage as a result of the August 11 storm and were left without power on Monday morning August 16.

Customers will see the credits as items called reliability credit on the printed invoice they receive in the mail. For customers enrolled in our eBill program, the credit can be seen on the PDF version of the invoice, which can be viewed by logging into their account at dteenergy.com.

We notify customers eligible to receive the credits, and they will see the credits applied on an account statement within the next 45 days. “

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