Michigan’s electric utilities continue to lag behind utilities in the rest of the country in the areas of electric reliability, energy costs as a percentage of customer household income and the extent of pollution, despite small improvements in some of these areas compared to last year, according to the 2020 edition of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Michigan’s Utility Performance Report.
Utilities such as DTE Energy and Consumers Energy often tout their ability to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy. CUB’s report puts those claims to the test by looking at the utilities’ performance relative to utilities in all 50 states. The report uses the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) to show the number and duration of power outages, affordability of energy and environmental impacts, including other measures of performance, for utilities around the country.
Michigan was the second-worst state in the country in terms of the average length of time it takes utilities to restore power after outages, and 9th-worst in terms of the duration of outages on a per customer basis. In order to account for weather differences, those rankings exclude days where events like severe weather patterns lead to widespread power outages.
The state also is 15th-highest for electricity expenditures as a share of median income, a key measure of affordability.
“The 2020 Utility Performance Report helps Michigan consumers and policymakers evaluate how effective our utilities are at providing essential services. Knowledge is power, and this knowledge can be used to question future attempts to raise rates and to determine what regulatory changes need to be put in place to improve utility service,” CUB Executive Director Amy Bandyk said. “While the state has made some slight improvements in some areas compared to last year’s report, it is still troubling that Michigan utilities remain below average compared to other states on most metrics.”
CUB has laid out performance-based regulatory measures that could incentivize service improvements in its March 2020 report, Utility Regulatory Measures to Improve Electric Reliability in Michigan. The Michigan Public Service Commission has recently signaled that it wants to pursue performance-based measures as part of the MIPowerGrid initiative.
The new report, Utility Performance Report: Ranking Michigan Amongst the States 2020 Edition, uses 2018 EIA data, the most recent available, and updates last year’s version, which used 2017 data. The report is available on the CUB website.
For more information about CUB of Michigan, visit www.cubofmichigan.org.