Nearly a million Michigan households lose power -- Why does this keep happening?

Michigan had an estimated 864,000 households without power

Why does Michigan's power grid keep failing
Why does Michigan's power grid keep failing

DETROIT – Nearly one million Michigan households were without power Thursday after severe storms blew through the Midwest.

StormPins: Photos of lightning, downed trees, downed power lines, flooding after storms hammer Metro Detroit

Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois all saw outages, but Michigan seems to have been hit the hardest, having more than 10 times the outages than the other states.

More: Massive power outages hit Michigan, nearing historic 2017 wind storm totals

At its peak in Wisconsin, the state had 63,000 customers without power. Illinois and Indiana peaked at about 30,000 each. Ohio peaked at 62,000. Michigan, however, peaked at 864,000 customers without power on as temperatures soar on one of the hottest days of the year.

Why does this keep happening?

“It’s important to know that Consumers Energy really is committed to building a strong energy grid,” said Brian Wheeler, with CE.

Michigan’s power companies were given huge raises in rates in 2020. DTE was approved for $188 million and CE was approved for $100 million. The money was supposed to be used on improvements. Even the federal government got involved, which sent more than $51 million to Michigan to shore up infrastructure against climate change.

Read: Why aren’t Michigan power lines underground?

“We need to change the regulations in the direction of what’s called performance-based regulations,” said energy consultant Matt Bandyk. “Where instead of it being about how much capital can the utility invest, it’s about how well can you perform and service your customers, how well can you provide reliable, affordable electric service.”

Both DTE and CE said they’ve invested a lot of money in trimming trees and upgrading utility poles so they can sustain higher winds.

More: Tracking DTE Energy power outages in SE Michigan


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.