Customers Getting $35 Bill Credit After Days Without Power Think They Should Get More
Power customers who spent days in the dark due to Michigan's recent ice storms are eligible for a $35 bill credit. But many say that figure is way too low.
More than 600,000 DTE Energy customers in Michigan were left without power after ice storms gripped much of Michigan during the last week of February. While some customers had their service restored within hours or a few days, tens of thousands of residents were left in the dark for the better part of a week.
Some Customers Are Eligible for a $35 bill credit.
DTE Energy customers who were without juice for more than 96 hours (four days) are eligible for a $35 bill credit. Some customers are saying that figure is "insulting."
Jerry Norcia is the CEO of DTE Energy. He spoke with Detroit's WDIV-TV and agrees that the credit doesn't go far to compensate customers for power outages that go on for several days.
“The $35, I would agree, is not going to cover the type of expenses that an extended outage would cause, you know, hotel stays, loss of food, and that sort of thing,” Norcia said. “When we work with our regulator, we’re trying to find a balance for how much do we reimburse for an outage vs. how much do we reinvest into making the future better and making the grid better.”
Attorney General Calls Outages "Unacceptable"
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says utility companies need to make significant infrastructure upgrades and says the $35 stipent for being without power is too low.
"What we're seeing now in terms of the number of outagages, the frequency of outages, the length of outages, it's completely unacceptable," Nessel said. "When a household loses their power, they lose their ability to do everything, not to mention the incredible cost of that."
Lawmaker Proposes Significant Compensation
Abraham Aiyash is the Michigan House Majority Floor Leader. She's proposing that Michigan utility companies like DTE and Consumers Energy pay compensation to customers based on the number of hours they go without electricity.
Under the proposal, customers would receive $5 for the first hour without power, $7 for each hour up to five hours, $10 for hours 5 to 12, $12 for hours 12 to 24, $15 for hours 24 to 48, and $25 for each hour over 72.
Under the aforementioned proposal, customers who were without power for four days would be credited $1,639 rather than $35.