MPSC Requests Customer Feedback on Power Outages
March 9, 2023
April O'Neil / news@WHMI.com
The Michigan Public Service Commission has scheduled a series of public town hall meetings to hear from those impacted by power outages that left hundreds of thousands of Michiganders without electricity after recent ice and snow storms across the Lower Peninsula.
“We know how exasperating it is to lose power and for it to take days for service to be restored, and we share in the frustrations with the reliability of the state’s power grid,” MSPC Chair Dan Scripps said. “The Commission is holding these town halls to give Michiganders a chance to share directly with state regulators their experiences during and after the storms, as well as a chance to hear about what steps the MPSC is taking to address reliability.”
The MPSC will hold two in-person town halls in areas hard hit by the ice storm on March 20, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at American 1 Credit Union Event Center, 128 W. Ganson St. in Jackson, and again from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fordson High School’s auditorium, 13800 Ford Road in Dearborn.
The MPSC also will hold a virtual town hall meeting, livestreamed over Microsoft Teams, March 21, 6-8 p.m. A link to participate through Microsoft Teams will be posted closer to the day of the virtual town hall at the event’s webpage.
Commissioners and MPSC Staff will be on hand. Commissioners will make brief opening remarks on steps the MPSC is taking to upgrade the state’s power grid and make it more resilient against increasingly severe year-round storms that are happening more frequently as the state’s climate changes and will reserve the rest of the time to listen to comments from attendees.
The Commission is in the midst of a broad effort to improve the reliability of the state’s power grid. For the grid to be able to withstand the more severe storms hitting our state, the MPSC has undertaken initiatives to better understand what’s causing repeat outages, and to push utilities to reduce their frequency and duration.
Efforts so far have included directing utilities to step up their efforts to trim more trees on a faster rotation. Early indications are that areas where these efforts have been focused are seeing fewer outages, and the outages are of shorter duration.
The Commission is preparing to launch independent, third-party systemwide audits of the electricity distribution systems of both DTE Electric and Consumers Energy to identify shortcomings, best practices, and parts of the system for targeted investment. The MPSC expects to post a request for proposals for the audits soon, with preliminary findings released before the end of 2023 and a final report sometime in 2024.
In addition to attending the in-person or virtual town halls, written comments also may be submitted to the MPSC by mail to Executive Secretary, Michigan Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 30221, Lansing, MI 48909, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A link to the MPSC is provided.