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Refunds in Michigan?

State AG Nessel calls on DTE and Consumers Energy to issue credits

After ice storms left large swathes of Michigan residents without power, Attorney General Dana Nessel again called on DTE Energy and Consumers Energy last week to proactively issue credits for residents affected by the recent weather events.

“While this ice storm appears to have been one of the worst we have seen in many years, winter weather is an expected occurrence in Michigan. Residents deserve a grid they can rely on,” said Nessel. “Despite asking for record increases time and time again, our utilities have failed to adequately invest in their own infrastructure or prepare for these storm events, choosing instead to leave ratepayers in the dark. Our current service quality standards are not sufficient, and it is incumbent on the utilities to right this wrong.”

In March 2022, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) determined that “[r]atepayers have a right to expect the utilities to anticipate extreme weather events, to provide a hardened grid that can withstand extreme weather, and to be prepared to restore power expediently when the grid fails.”

In its October 5, 2022, order, the MPSC further ordered an “independent review of the adequacy of the electric distribution system operated by Consumers Energy and DTE electric” to determine measures that “may mitigate or avert future crises, including the loss of life and the loss of essential public services.” Nessel is asking the MPSC to publicly share the results of its independent audit (Docket Number U-21305) as soon as possible.

Nessel is also requesting that the Commission reconsider and adopt her recommendations from prior electric outage and reliability investigation dockets, and she will continue to work with the legislature to enshrine protections into law, including:

  • automatic credits for residents who lose power;

  • more substantial outage credits to help customers who incurred expenses for housing, food, etc; and,

  • the creation of metrics with penalties to ensure that the money spent on electric reliability results in increased reliability.

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