Michiganders frustrated with regular power outages

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 5:41 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 7:04 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Dozens of people expressed their frustrations about being left without electricity for days after last month’s ice storm.

Related: Businesses across Michigan feel impact of power outages caused by ice storm

The Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, is trying to figure out how it can hold utilities accountable.

The goal is to prevent power outages in the first place.

Monday, the MPSC held two town halls to get feedback from customers in Jackson and Dearborn.

Dozens of people from across the state showed up to the one Monday afternoon in Jackson to let utility regulators they’ve had it with the power outages.

They said the outages are happening more often and lasting longer, which can be the difference between life and death.

Cathy Tervol cares for people with special needs in Hillsdale County. Her clients were among the hundreds of thousands of Consumers Energy customers in the dark after February’s ice storm. She told regulators that’s a problem when her clients are relying on power to run medical equipment.

“It’s not acceptable to have five-year-olds not have their breathing equipment and other stuff,” said Tervol.

Dan Scripps, MPSC chair, wants to make sure that changes.

“It’s really clear that our level of performance isn’t what it needs to be. That’s particularly challenging given extreme weather that’s happening more regularly,” he said.

Many people at Monday’s town hall would like to see their power lines buried.

Consumer Energy spokesman Brian Wheeler said it’s already putting some suggestions from the crowd.

“We really are going to be accelerating and doing more work to keep those power lines resilient and strong when we have bad weather,” Wheeler said.

Regulators are putting in new power outage rules Friday. Part of that includes a $35-a-day automatic credit every day customers are without power. Now, customers must apply for a one-time $25 credit when the power goes out.

There will be another town hall Tuesday evening online. You can join it here.

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