Nessel Calls Out Utility Companies: Give Customers’ Money Back

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel walks to her seat before the State of the State address, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

By Kyle Kaminski

February 27, 2023

Michiganders can apply for outage credits from DTE Energy and Consumers Energy—but Attorney General Dana Nessel doesn’t think that they should have to ask for their refunds.

LANSING—Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel is calling on utility companies to cut thousands of customers a break on their bills after an ice storm knocked out power in southeast Michigan.

“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,” Nessel said. “Our service quality standards are not sufficient, and it is incumbent on the utilities to right this wrong.”

More than 200,000 residents were left in the dark last week after an ice storm battered the electrical grid in southeast Michigan—downing thousands of electrical lines in the process.

Crews sprung into action to make repairs, with DTE Energy focusing its weekend efforts on ensuring schools had power to avoid further cancellations. Consumers Energy has also reportedly reached the halfway mark on repairs, with a full restoration expected this week.

But Nessel wants more than just fixes. This week, she called on both DTE and Consumers to issue credits for all residents who were affected by the weather-related outages.

Both companies currently offer $25 outage credits (only upon request) to customers who lose electricity for more than five days during “catastrophic conditions” that affect at least 10% of the service areas—or longer than 16 hours for outages that occur during otherwise normal conditions. Links to those outage credit applications can be found at the bottom of this page.

Nessel said she wants to see those credits be issued whether customers request them or not, and she’s also urging utility providers to provide more substantial outage credits to help customers who took on extra expenses as a result of the outages, like replacing spoiled food.

“Weather is an expected occurrence,” Nessel said. “Residents deserve a grid they can rely on.”

Rather than claim responsibility for costs associated with storm damages or power outages, both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy currently refer customers to their home or renter’s insurance company.

The outages prompted some Democratic state lawmakers to call for legislative hearings in Lansing to question utilities about the long restoration times and reliability issues.

“There will be hearings,” State Sen. Darrin Camilleri told WDIV-TV.

Still without power?

DTE Energy customers can apply for outage credits here.

Consumers Energy customers can click here to apply for an outage credit.

2-1-1 is a free resource from the United Way that helps connect Michiganders with local providers and services in their community—including help finding a nearby warming center.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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