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Nessel calls on state's energy companies to give automatic outage credits

dte energy
Posted at 11:10 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 11:10:35-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is calling on the two largest utility companies in the state to credit customers who continue to deal with power outages after last week’s severe weather.

Hundreds of thousands of customers throughout Consumers Energy and DTE Energy service areas suffered power outages last week, and many have now gone several days without power.

As of 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, more than 67,000 customers across both utilities remained without power in Michigan.

Nessel wants both companies to voluntarily credit customers affected by the outages and to provide more credits to help customers who have lost hundreds of dollars or more in food and alternative housing costs.

In addition, the attorney general wants the utilities to create a fund to assist displaced customers during significant power outages like these.

Nessel raised these same concerns back in July 2019 in a letter to the former chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission and continued with comments filed with the commission in August 2019, March 2020 and August 2020.

Consistent through the letter and comments is Nessel’s argument that Michigan utilities should make the outage credit automatic, increase the outage credit, create performance standards and create a disaster relief program to help customers displaced by storms and electric 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. “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.”

Customers wanting to obtain an outage credit currently need to file a request with their utility.

DTE Energy customers can submit here.

Consumers Energy customers can do so here.