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Utility companies urged to improve disaster response in Michigan

Flickr User Micheal J

A powerful windstorm last March left roughly a third of the state without power, and now energy companies are working to avoid future outages.


Consumers Energy and DTE worked with the Michigan Public Service Commission to improve preparation and response to such events.

Nick Assendelft is the spokesman for the Michigan Public Service Commission. He said Consumers Energy and DTE worked with the MPSC to improve preparation and responses to such events.

“Continuing their vegetation clearing around power lines so cutting trees that are hanging over or trees that are too close that might come down in these kind of storms and take lines with them. They also took a look at electrical infrastructure and said let's continue to keep replacing things that are old or making sure things that need fixing are fixed so it’s a more sturdy and robust system.”

Assendelft said other complaints included getting information out in a timely manner and more improved smart meters to report outages to the utilities faster.

“Consumers said in its filing with the Public Service Commission that 358,000 of its customers about 20 percent, had lost power. DTE said in its report that about 750,000 of its customers were without power, some of those for days.”

Winds of up to 60 miles an hour toppled trees and power lines, leaving over a million Michigan residents without power, some for several days.

Assendelft said the utilities worked hard to get power back up after the major outages, and the hope is to be more prepared looking ahead.