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MPSC Launches Investigation into Detroit Edison's Response to Recent Windstorm Damage in Detroit, to Hold Public Hearing

Contact: Judy Palnau (517) 241-3323

September 14, 2010

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today said it is launching an investigation into the causes and response of The Detroit Edison Company to recent windstorm damage in the City of Detroit.  It also will hold a public hearing on Sept. 29 in Detroit to provide an opportunity for affected customers to discuss their concerns regarding how the utility responded to the downed lines and power outages.

"The Michigan Public Service Commission has an obligation to ensure that public utilities provide customers with reasonably reliable service, protect the public from hazardous downed power lines, and promptly respond to and restore power to customers suffering from outages," said MPSC  Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu. 

The MPSC's investigation will:

·         discover how the windstorm may have affected the utility's distribution system;

·         how the utility responded;

·         whether any changes should be implemented to reduce the potential for future power outages of the magnitude recently witnessed;

·         whether there is evidence of a failure on the part of Detroit Edison to properly maintain its distribution system that could have contributed to the outages experienced during these storms;

·         whether the utility was properly prepared to receive and respond to customer calls to report outages; and

·         whether the utility sufficiently addressed all public safety concerns associated with downed power lines in a timely manner. 

The Commission staff is directed to conduct an investigation into Detroit Edison's response to the service outages and safety hazards caused by the windstorm, the current condition of the utility's infrastructure in the area most affected by the windstorm, and the company's preparedness to respond to such events in a timely manner.  At the conclusion of its investigation, the staff shall file a report in this docket.  Thereafter, the utility shall file its response to the staff's report.  At the conclusion of the process, the Commission may propose remedial action, as appropriate.

In addition, the Commission will hold a public hearing to provide an opportunity for affected customers to discuss their concerns regarding how the utilities responded to the downed lines and power outages.  It will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 29, in the East Showroom (ground floor) of the Cadillac Place Building, located at 3044 W. Grand Blvd.

Written and e-mail comments also may be filed with the Commission no later than 5 p.m. on October 15, 2010.  Written comments should be sent to: Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, Michigan 48909.  E-mail comments may be e‑mailed to: mpscedockets@michigan.gov.  All comments should reference Case No. U-16462.  All comments received by the Commission will become public information, posted on the Commission's website, and subject to disclosure.

The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. 

Case No. U-16462