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Utility Incident Notification Procedures

Incident notification and information sharing are integral to developing situational awareness leading up to and during emergencies.  At both the local and state level, this information helps emergency response personnel determine where resources may be needed and where future problems may arise.

Electric Incident Reporting

Michigan investor-owned distribution utilities and electric cooperatives are required to notify the MPSC when certain outage thresholds are met.  This information is shared with the Electric Operations section and depending on the severity of the event, may be shared with the MSP/EMHSD and/or Governor’s office.  The MPSC requires notification from these utilities when:

  • Severe conditions result in outages of 5% or more of a provider’s total customers. Stricter guidelines exist for:
    • Consumers Energy – any outage over 50,000 customers
    • DTE – any outage over 75,000 customers
  • Events of significant magnitude result in issuances of an official state of emergency declaration by the local, state, or federal government.
  • Serious injury or fatality after contact with utility facilities as required by MPSC rule R460.3804.
  • The utility experiences a cyber incident that disrupts electric operations, involves extortion, impairs certain computer systems for more than 12 hours, or requires public notification under state law.

  Additionally, the two largest utilities in Michigan, Consumers Energy and DTE, have established notification procedures for the following circumstances:

  • Intentional load shed or curtailment action,
  • System-wide blackout event or condition, and
  • Outage at a large generation unit, such as a nuclear facility.

Natural Gas Incident Reporting

Certain incidents on the natural gas system require urgent notification to MPSC Staff.  The specific criteria for incidents requiring notification are described in the Michigan Gas Safety Standards and under PHMSA’s 49 CFR Part 191.  Some examples are any release of gas that results in:

  • Property damage of $10,000 or more;
  • Loss of service to more than 100 customers;
  • Injury, fatality, or explosion;
  • Other operational triggers as defined in the regulations.

Typically, the incident notification must include details such as:

  • Names of the operator and reporting person;
  • Suspected cause, location, and time of the incident;
  • Nature and extent of any injuries or fatalities;
  • Any other notable information.