Michigan residents who were affected by expansive power outages this month are being asked to share feedback with the state.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is seeking input from residents across the state who experienced power outages amid severe weather during the month of August -- particularly the week of Aug. 9, when nearly one million Michigan households lost power as storms rolled through the state.
The state’s AG is asking residents to share information like who their utility provider is, what county they live in and how long their power outage, or outages, lasted in an effort to help the state “better understand the impact the extended outages had on consumers.”
“As a state, we must put a heavier priority on examining our utility companies and how they adapt to the changing climate and needs of their millions of customers,” Nessel said in a statement Tuesday. “It remains unacceptable that Michigan residents have grown to expect power outages every time there’s severe weather in the forecast. We can -- and must -- do better. I appreciate the public’s help by providing my office with information on the hardships they faced during extended outages.”
Nessel has been particularly critical of utility companies DTE Energy and Consumers Energy amid the widespread outages experienced in Metro Detroit and throughout the state of Michigan this month and during heavy storms. Last week, the AG called on both companies to institute a voluntary and automatic crediting system that kicks in when customers lose power for an extended period of time.
She also encouraged the companies to establish funds that would assist “displaced customers during significant power outages.”
DTE and Consumers Energy customers can apply to be credited due to a significant power outage, if they meet certain criteria. Click here to submit a request with Consumers Energy, or click here to submit a request with DTE Energy.
Storms that struck the state overnight on Wednesday, Aug. 11 and into the next morning knocked out power for more than 800,000 Michigan residents at its peak. Nearby states Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois also saw outages amid the storms, but Michigan appeared to have been hit the hardest, recording more than 10 times the outages of the other states.
The massive outage was the biggest power outage event in Michigan since the record-breaking March 2017 wind storm, which also resulted in nearly one million outages statewide.
Michigan’s power companies were given significant raises in 2020 and were even provided $51 million from the federal government to help improve their infrastructure, especially with the effects of climate change in mind (and already making waves). Both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy say they have invested money in trimming trees and upgrading utility poles so that they can withstand higher winds.
DTE’s president and CEO Jerry Norcia promised that the company will create more resilient infrastructure to help prevent massive outage events in the future.