MPSC to Utilities: Trim Those Trees!

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan regulators are demanding that utilities do a better job trimming trees to help prevent the sort of widespread power outages caused by an ice storm last winter.
The state Public Service Commission on Friday said it's "unacceptable" that Consumers Energy spent only half of what it requested on tree trimming in 2013, the lowest in five years. Regulators credited DTE Electric for having a stronger commitment to keep limbs away from power lines.
The commission recommends the use of local ordinances to streamline the removal of hazardous trees near power lines but outside utilities' right of way.
A pre-Christmas ice storm disrupted service to roughly 650,000 DTE and Consumers customers.
Regulators will report back to the commission by Oct. 1 on improvements made by the utilities.

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