MPSC directs DTE Electric Company and Consumers Energy Company to file reports on their responses to March 8 windstorm

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today directed DTE Electric Company and Consumers Energy Company to file reports by May 15 addressing their responses to power outages that occurred because of the March 8 windstorm.

“The Commission wants to understand more of the lessons learned by Michigan utilities and their efforts to restore electric service following the windstorm that hit this state on March 8,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “The magnitude of the windstorm that struck large parts of Michigan provides utilities an opportunity to assess which improvements and upgrades have provided real benefits in a time of crisis, and to improve their infrastructure, operations, and communications to improve their responses during future events. Despite the unprecedented nature of the storm, many customers saw their service restored in a timely manner, while others waited more than a week. As part of the Michigan Public Service Commission’s responsibility to protect the public by ensuring safe, reliable and accessible energy services, the Commission is directing both DTE Electric and Consumers Energy to file reports that provide detailed information on their responses to power outages that occurred.”

The MPSC order issued today directs both utilities to review the following issues in their reports:

  • how the windstorm affected the utilities’ distribution systems;

  • how the utilities prepared for and responded to the storm;

  • whether any changes could be implemented to reduce the potential for future power outages of the same magnitude;

  • whether the utilities were properly prepared to receive and respond to customer calls to report outages and if the utilities’ customer communications were adequate;

  • whether the utilities sufficiently addressed all public safety concerns associated with downed power lines in a timely manner;

  • the performance of smart meters and other online communications.

“The MPSC is requiring DTE and Consumers Energy to provide a thorough accounting of their responses to this historic windstorm,” Talberg added. “My fellow commissioners and I are particularly interested in each utility’s assessment of how investments made in distribution infrastructure, distribution equipment repair and construction, expansion of automation, early warning technology and vegetation management, including the clearance of trees outside of the utility easement, affected the time and number of outages from the wind storm.”

Case No. U-18346

For more information about the MPSC, please visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc or sign up for one of its listservs to keep up to date on MPSC matters.