Activists Call For Oversight, Compensation From DTE Energy Over Power Outages

The group accuses the energy company of not doing enough to address power outages in low-income communities.

A row of houses in Highland Park

Highland Park

Activists are calling on the Michigan Public Service Commission to make DTE Energy provide compensation to its customers for power outages. The group, called Work for Me DTE, says the company provided misleading details during outages last year, many of which residents say were not tied to major weather events.

Michelle Jones is a Highland Park resident. She says she’d like state officials to block the utility from raising rates in low-income communities until infrastructure improves.

“When the power goes off without warning, as it often does, I am stuck.” — Alice Andrews, Livingston County resident

Jones would also like the state to “require DTE to automatically issue a minimum credit of $2 per hour when there is an outage… and commit to supporting community-based clean energy as a reliable measure.”

Jones also points to problems with a DTE Energy program that reimburses customers for food lost during a power outage. She says her family was denied the $25 credit after losing a fridge-full of groceries last summer.

Alice Andrews is a Livingston County resident. She says power outages impact her neighborhood’s access to water, as the community relies on well water delivered by electric pumps.

“Power outages are so common that if there’s a threat of a windy or stormy day, I fill up containers of drinking water and fill up my bathtub to assist with flushing my toilet,” says Andrews. “When the power goes off without warning, as it often does, I am stuck.”

Activists with the group also call out DTE Energy for the impact outages have on people with disabilities, as well as the affect on remote learning during the COVID pandemic.

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  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.