Michigan AG calls on DTE, Consumers to automatically credit customers amid power outages

Severe storms trigger power outages for hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents last week

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel addresses the media during a news conference, Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Lansing, Mich. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP) (Matthew Dae Smith)

Following severe weather that triggered power outages for hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents, the state’s attorney general is calling on two major utility companies to credit affected customers.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Monday called on DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to voluntarily credit customers affected by power outages, both currently and moving forward. The AG is specifically requesting the companies to create a fund that would help “displaced customers during significant power outages.”

“The utility workers for Consumers Energy and DTE Energy are working hard to restore power, and I appreciate those who have worked tirelessly the last several days on behalf of the communities they serve, but these companies also need to work hard to restore trust with their customers,” Nessel said Monday. “One way to restore confidence is to voluntarily adopt automatic outage credits and create a fund to assist customers displaced because of these increasingly frequent and powerful storms. We know that climate change is having a significant real impact, and a business-as-usual approach is no longer sufficient. That is why it’s imperative that our utility companies adapt to the changing climate and needs of their thousands of customers. Consumers Energy and DTE must do better than this.”

Nessel has called out DTE and Consumers regarding the issue before, arguing that Michigan the companies should make an “outage credit automatic, increase the outage credit, create performance standards, and create some disaster program to help customers displaced by storms and electric outages.”

Customers can apply for an outage credit online: click here to submit a request with Consumers Energy, or click here to submit a request with DTE Energy.

Overnight storms last Wednesday and into Thursday morning knocked out power for more than 800,000 Michigan residents at its peak.

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

The companies worked to restore power for most through the weekend, and now only about 40,000 DTE customers are without power, as of 11:14 a.m. Monday. About 25,000 Consumers Energy customers are currently without power.

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.