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Michigan Attorney General's new website aims to hold utility companies accountable, collect consumer feedback

Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 03, 2024

(WXYZ) — A Royal Oak resident, Jennifer Kaski, is tired of all the power outages she and her husband have endured over the last 10 years.

"You can't stay here in the house because it's too cold in the house. We have friends who take us in when we experience power outages. Also, it gets so cold in the house that you are at risk of your pipes bursting," said Kaski.

"Do you find it frustrating that even after so many years, there is still no solution?" I asked.

"Yeah! Because we don't get any reimbursement on your bills and when you lose a whole refrigerator of food, with what it costs for food nowadays, people can't afford that," said Kaski.

I asked if DTE ever gave her a credit and Kaski said she's never seen it on her bill.

"Have you filed a complaint?" I asked.

"It's like, where do you file it?" said Kaski.

WATCH: Metro Detroiters react to a potential DTE rate hike:

How would you feel about a potential DTE rate hike?

In addition to filing it directly with utility companies, people can now share their grievances and more on a new website launched by Attorney General Dana Nessel.

"It's a one-stop shop where people can learn more about their utilities," said Nessel.

The website provides several features, including a portal that tracks outage-related patterns. People can report owed power outage credits and learn about utility companies and their requests for rate hikes.

"We tried to take the areas that we thought customers would want to know about, but also how do we educate people about the services they are heavily relying on," said Nessel.

Last Wednesday, DTE Energy announced plans to file another electric rate increase requestwith the Michigan Public Service Commission.

According to the energy company, the rate increase request is $456 million, which will reach just over $11 per month on average for a residential customer.

However, the AG says that with the data from the website, she will be in a better position to advocate for and hold utility companies accountable.

"They just got a rate increase, they didn't show how they used that money. Did you use the money to trim more trees or harden the grid, or did you use the money to give your CEO more money or your shareholders a fatter check?" said Nessel.

Meanwhile, Kaski was pleasantly surprised after seeing the website but still hopes more is done to find a sustainable solution.

The Attorney General says public input is key, so if you are facing any issues with utility companies, you are urged to use the new website by visiting: https://www.michigan.gov/ag/initiatives/utilities