(WXYZ) — State regulators say they are looking to hold the two largest power companies in the state, DTE and Consumers Energy, accountable for a trend of lengthy power outages across Michigan.
In back-to-back summers, southeast Michigan has experienced multiple storms that left hundreds of thousands in the dark.
Last year about 1 million homes and businesses lost power in August. A little over one year later, it happened again to about 500,000 customers.
"This little chunk of Royal Oak is kind of notorious for power outages," Justin Skrzynski, a Royal Oak resident said.
People living in his Royal Oak neighborhood went without light and electricity for six days this summer after an August storm brought down trees, branches, and wires in their area.
"Yeah I think everyone on this block has generators and all their backup plans," Skrzynski said.
500,000 people went without power during that storm according to the Michigan Public Services Commission.
"Our reliability performance, our safety performance, isn't where it needs to be. It's not what customers deserve," Dan Scripps the chair of the commission said. "And that is initiating a third party independent audit."
According to Scripps, this is the first time in living memory that the commission has used its auditing power to look into the practices of DTE and Consumers Energy.
DTE responded to the audit by sending a statement saying, "We share the concern of the Michigan Public Service Commission and look forward to providing a full accounting of storm damage, safety precautions, and recovery efforts."
Consumers also sent a statement saying, "We appreciate the MPSC's interest in ensuring that energy providers are taking steps to protect and inform people before, during, and after severe storms, and improve electric system reliability and resilience."
This audit also comes on the hills of DTE proposing a nearly 9% rate hike.