GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan attorney general says the state should implement stronger oversight of utility companies, calling them “regulated monopolies” that are failing to provide quality service.
“What we’ve seen as of late is that we simply don’t have enough restrictions in place to make sure that the utilities are providing us with good service and at a reasonable cost,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told News 8.
She said Michigan customers lose power more frequently than those in surrounding states but also pay more for power. She called on people to reach out to their state lawmakers asking for more oversight and legislation that will force utilities to put customers ahead of profits.
She said not only is the loss of power expensive, it can also be dangerous.
“This on and off, on and off when people are losing their power, consistently, this is a recipe for disaster and people can literally die,” Nessel said.
She also said utilities like Consumers Energy and DTE Energy should automatically issue credits for those who go without power for days after severe weather, rather than customers having to apply.
In a statement to News 8, Consumers acknowledged the frustrations of people who lost power but also said it has invested in the grid and last year reduced the number of outages.
“Consumers Energy is committed to providing electricity reliably, 24/7, to our 1.8 million customers. We understand the frustration that people are feeling after these recent historic ice storms, and this strengthens our resolve to do better. Consumers Energy is carrying out five-year, $5.4 billion plan to strengthen our electric grid and reduced customer outages by 20% last year due to our upgrades. But when storms and severe weather cause outages, we have worked with the MPSC to develop standards for outage credits and we work with our customers on the credits they qualify for. As Michigan’s hometown energy provider, we will always strive to do right by the communities we serve and help our customers during times of hardship.”Consumers Energy