ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Haley Stevens (MI-11), and Shri Thanedar (MI-13) wrote a letter to DTE Energy requesting explanations for the outages following the recent winter storms in Michigan that left nearly 900,000 households without power.
“For more than two weeks I have heard from people across Southeast Michigan who have been forced to face frigid temperatures without power, and are dealing with challenges including frozen pipes, lost food and income, and the financial burden of last-minute hotel reservations,” Dingell said. “Extended power outages threaten residents living with health conditions that require electricity for treatment such as oxygen support, or accommodations like a stair lift. We need to understand the circumstances that led to this crisis, and ensure we are better prepared for future weather events.”
Specifically, the lawmakers asked for answers to the following questions:
What concrete steps have DTE taken to address the immediate and longer-term impacts of these storms? Additionally, what steps were taken in advance of these storms to prepare for potential effects on the electrical grid and consumer access to electricity?
Will DTE be taking additional steps to build further resilience? What actions are being taken to ensure grid integrity and security during inclement weather, natural disasters, and other events to ensure this crisis is never repeated?
How many employees and contractors were activated to respond to this weather event before it arrived? What is your assessment of how much of a personnel shortfall existed that hampered your response?
Will DTE be providing additional relief for customers, many who are still without power, beyond the $35 credit to consumers? How will any additional relief be provided to these consumers, and will consumers receive notification of relief they may be eligible for as a result of these continued outages?
What are the zip codes of the neighborhoods that experienced outages lasting longer than 96 hours?
Given the increased financial burden placed on our constituents, have you reconsidered your proposed rate increases?
Are there any actions Congress should consider to address these vulnerabilities and increase resiliency for future crises and weather events?