Increase power outage credits to customers
and make repairs come from utility profits
The Michigan League of Conservation Voters today is calling for the Michigan Public Service Commission and the Legislature to conduct oversight hearings on the failures by DTE and Consumers Energy to prevent outages and reconnect customers following summer storms.
Michigan’s leaders also should demand DTE and Consumers increase the $25 power outage credit for customers that lost power in recent storms, make those payments automatic without a complicated paperwork process, and ensure that widespread improvements to Michigan’s energy grid come from utility profits — not more rate increases.
“For years now, our residential rates have been skyrocketing, eating up more of family budgets, and yet all we get is more blackouts, longer outage times, and less reliability. DTE and Consumers seem content to rake in massive, windfall profits while families and businesses across Michigan suffer without power,” said Bob Allison, deputy director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “We need a full-on, independent state investigation, and our Legislature and the Public Service Commission should get to the bottom of why Michigan’s utility companies continue to fail their customers and businesses. No family should ever be left in the dark for a week again.”
According to the independent Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB), an independent organization representing interests of residential energy customers in Michigan, Michigan utilities lag far behind other states in terms of reliability:
- Michigan utilities had the second-worst restoration time per outage in the nation — even on days without major storm events.
- In the Great Lakes region, Michiganders experienced the most amount of minutes out-of-power on average annually.
In the last five years, DTE Energy has jacked up rates to the tune of $775 million with little improvements to service while Consumers Energy is currently proposing a $225 million rate increase — just months after they hiked our rates this past January.
While DTE had profits of $1.4 billion and Consumers Energy’s parent company, CMS, raking in $680 million, Michigan ratepayers are experiencing unreliable service. More than 800,000 Michiganders lost power during recent storms and the utilities are now saying customers will have to file paperwork to receive a small credit for their troubles.
Media reports show that DTE and Consumers Energy paid no federal taxes in 2020, with utility spokespersons saying it would ultimately trickle down into savings to customers. Last year, both Consumers Energy and DTE spent more than $10 million paying their CEOs.