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State Utility Regulators Probing Response to December Ice Storm

Thousands of Michiganders spent up to a week without power after a catastrophic ice storm. The state’s Public Service Commission wants to make sure the state’s two major utilities did all they could.

Extra crews were brought in from other states to help Michigan's two major utilities respond to a catastrophic ice storm that meant thousands of residents spent Christmas in the dark. (Patch file photo)
Extra crews were brought in from other states to help Michigan's two major utilities respond to a catastrophic ice storm that meant thousands of residents spent Christmas in the dark. (Patch file photo)

A late-December power outage that meant thousands of Michigan residents spent Christmas – and in many cases, several days after the holiday – in the dark will be investigated by the state’s Public Service Commission.

The state regulatory agency is specifically looking at how Michigan’s two major utilities – Consumers Energy and DTE Energy –  responded to the outage, the Detroit News reports.

Tree branches that broke under the burden of a thick coating of ice downed power lines, plunging about 661,000 customers into the dark in the Dec. 21-22 ice storm.

The investigation will center around how the two utilities performed in terms of preparation, system maintenance, crew deployment and customer communication, as well as how lengthy outages can be prevented in the future. Consumers Energy had 416,000 customers without power at some point during the ice emergency, and DTE had 210,000.

Some Michiganders were without power for at least a week.

Both utilities said they welcome the investigation. They have until Feb. 7 to respond to th commission’s questions. Then, the public may comment on the responses until Feb. 21. Recommendations, if necessary, will be made by Feb. 21.

>>> Read the full story on the Detroit News.
Jeffrey Long January 09, 2014 at 07:07 PM
So a bunch of bureaucrats are going to decide if they did all they could. Working 24 hrs a day, seven days a week, in sub zero temperatures, from boom trucks, in a profession that's more dangerous then most other first responders. Let me save the state a truckload of money. THEY DID A GREAT JOB! If anyone thinks different, it's out of ignorance about exactly what needs to be done, and how difficult it is to do it.

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