Archived News Release: March 23, 2023 - Two representatives from Ann Arbor's Office of Sustainability and Innovations are in Lansing today, Thursday, March 23, as a key Senate committee holds a public hearing into devastating power outages that left thousands of city residents in the dark.
“DTE's failure to plan for climate change, make the investments rate payers have laid for time and again, and meet its tree trimming schedule over the last decade, among other issues, are some of the notable reasons Ann Arborites continue to regularly experience multi-day outages," said Dr. Missy Stults, City of Ann Arbor Director of Sustainability and Innovations, who offered testimony in DTE's last rate case documenting these failures.
“Ann Arborites are demanding energy that is affordable and reliable, protects our health, reduces pollution and addresses climate change in an equitable fashion," Stults noted. “We will continue to advocate and innovate to realize that future, whether that is through legislative processes like today's hearing, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) processes like the ongoing DTE rate case, or negotiation of the city's next heating franchise."
Thousands of Ann Arborites experienced a week without power in the last storm series or gained power for a few hours only to lose it again for days. City officials sprang into unfortunately well-practiced action, doing wellness checks, creating warming shelters, and standing up overnight shelters, as well as other services to fill gaps left by these power outages. Given this reality, city officials are inviting the MPSC to Ann Arbor to host an additional special hearing on the impacts of recent outages and possible solutions.
Today's Senate Energy and Environment Committee, scheduled to meet at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, March 23, in Room 403 of the Michigan Capitol. The House Energy, Environment and Technology hearing that occurred last week included testimony from an Ann Arbor resident and business owner who experienced devastating consequences from the outages. Ann Arbor will continue to raise such issues at the Commission in its current intervention in DTE's rate case.
The MPSC held public hearings in Dearborn and Jackson, and a virtual statewide hearing regarding the latest outages.
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