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AG Nessel Encouraged by MPSC's Utility Action

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel supports the Michigan Public Service Commission's (MPSC) approach to recent power outages and utility oversight.

Earlier today the MPSC opened Case No. U-21122, U-20147, "... an effort to expand the data it receives from utilities about their efforts to boost reliability, support more transparency around planning, and encourage more engagement in how best to prepare and harden Michigan's electric distribution system to better withstand the state's increasingly recurrent extreme weather."

MPSC also announced a technical conference focused on storm response, preparedness and reliability to be held Wednesday, Oct. 22.

"I'm encouraged to see this proactive response by MPSC as thousands of Michigan residents once again woke up in the dark this morning after severe weather overnight," Nessel said. "We must approach our ongoing utility shortfalls with urgency, which is why it was important to me to begin gathering feedback from consumers who have dealt with outages all summer long. Hearing directly from customers is imperative in shaping well informed policies and expectations for the utility companies."

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, more than 2,900 responses were submitted to Nessel's online feedback initiative. Launched Tuesday morning, the initiative seeks resident and business outage experiences as Nessel continues to advocate for Michigan consumers.

The feedback form can be found on the Department's homepage or by visiting directly here.

One question asks respondents to estimate the loss incurred while they were without power.

One response received by the Department read, "Our sump pump stopped working due to the outage, resulting in significant flood damage to our finished basement. We had to hire a restoration crew to dry out our home over [five] days including the use of 24 fans blowing constantly. I have not seen my electric bill yet, but imagine it will be extremely high. We were able to save food through the use of two generators, but lost $15,000 worth of contents plus all of our carpet, trim and damages our drywall due to the water back up. The power outage also occurred during an extreme heat wave - causing emergency management to open cooling shelters throughout our area. We had to stay in our wet, hot home to monitor generators and try to pump water out of our house. Insurance doesn't even come close to covering all of our damages."

Another stated, "Lost all my food in both of my fridges and freezers, husband and [I] had to call in to work since a tree was down with a down wire blocking our street for two days, so [we] lost money and had [to] search everywhere to buy a generator to try to keep my elderly grandmother who stays with me alive."

The Department intends to use the information collected from the online feedback form when its comment in this new case is filed with the MPSC.

In its announcement Wednesday, the MPSC also requested public input. Details on topics to weigh in on and how to submit comments can be found in the Commission's news release.