Shortly after hundreds of thousands of Michigan utility customers lost power on Dec. 11 in an event that is the latest sign of our deteriorating electric grid, the residential ratepayer advocacy group the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Michigan is releasing the 2021 edition of its Utility Performance Report, a scorecard that compares Michigan utilities to peers nationwide. The report finds that Michigan is for the most part doing poorly on critical metrics like electric reliability and the level of environmental impacts from the energy sector. Despite these shortcomings, however, Michigan residents pay some of the highest rates in the country.
“Unreliable and expensive energy is a big problem that makes life more difficult for Michiganders, and also harms our state’s economy,” CUB of Michigan President-Elect Keith Cooley said. “This report lays out the scope of the problem. Our regulators and representatives should take notice and make reforms.”
The annual report compiles the most recent federal data and shows how Michigan continues to rank among the worst states on many important utility performance measures. For example, the average time to restore power following an outage was nearly six hours in Michigan, several hours longer than in neighboring states. Michigan also was among the states where power plants emit the most harmful sulfur dioxide pollution.
The release of this year’s Utility Performance Report comes when the public spotlight is on Michigan’s poor utility service. A string of widespread power outages over the summer that left hundreds of thousands of Michiganders in the dark—in some cases for days—has led to a bipartisan outcry from state legislators, the governor’s office and nonprofit groups that something needs to change.
“Michigan residential customers need to know that the disruptions they experience from frequent and lengthy power outages are not solely a result of bad weather or other factors outside the utilities’ control,” CUB of Michigan Executive Director Amy Bandyk said. “Rather, the data in our report show that Michigan residents experience longer power outages and higher costs of energy than experienced in other states, including all of the other states in the Great Lakes region. These findings suggest that Michigan’s problems are rooted in the poor performance of its specific utilities.”
This report covers more topics than previous editions, including data on the impacts of Michigan’s power sector on water consumption, data around Michigan’s high CO2 emissions from natural gas and a fuller picture of the affordability of home heating sources in Michigan.
The new report, Utility Performance Report: Ranking Michigan Amongst the States 2021 Edition, uses the most recent available information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB of MI) was formed in 2018 to represent the interests of residential energy customers across the state of Michigan. CUB of MI advocates on behalf of Michigan utility customers to ensure that Michiganders pay the lowest reasonable rate for reliable utility services and also benefit from the environmental implications of cost-effective investment in clean energy. CUB of MI is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose members are individual residential customers of Michigan’s energy utilities. For more information, visit www.cubofmichigan.org