MPSC calls for improvements by DTE and Consumers in wake of historic March statewide windstorm

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today directed Consumers Energy Co. (Consumers) and DTE Electric Co. (DTE) to work with Commission staff to improve preparation and response efforts for major weather events such as March’s historic wind storm, which caused widespread, days-long power outages across the state.

The MPSC said it expects that completing smart meter integration, continuing vegetation clearing around power lines, improving electrical infrastructure, and reporting outage and restoration information more accurately will mean better future utility performance.

After the storm this past spring, the MPSC ordered the two utilities to file reports detailing their storm response. The Commission asked Consumers and DTE about how the storm affected their distribution systems, staff preparation and response, possible changes to mitigate future outages, customer response and communication, whether public safety concerns were addressed quickly, and outage map and smart meter performance.

Winds had topped 60 miles per hour during the storm this past spring, uprooting trees, snapping power poles and downing power lines. Consumers said in its filing with the MPSC that 358,000 of its customers – about 20 percent — lost power. DTE said in its report that approximately 750,000 of its customers were without power, many for days. All totaled, about a third of Michigan residents were affected by outages.

For details on the utility and MAE reports, and the Commission’s order, see Case No. U-18346.

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