Consumers and DTE: No rate increase after Dec. ice storm outages

Consumers and DTE: No rate increase after Dec. ice storm power outages

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(WJBK) -

Many won't soon forget the massive ice storm that left parts of southeast Michigan without power around Christmas. Now, Consumer's Energy and DTE Energy are telling state lawmakers they will not ask for a rate increase to cover the $83 million it cost to restore the power.
"The cost for our storm, for the ice storm for Consumers Energy, was $48 million. No we will not go to the rate payers," says Dan Malone from Consumers Energy.

"We will not ask our customers for any dollars back on this," says Trevor Lauer from DTE Energy.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report from Fox 2's Tim Skubick

The utility companies also admitted they need to do more about trimming trees.

Why not move all the lines underground?

"Underground lines last about half as long as overhead; they're much harder to find the outages. So when you have an outage, that outage tends to be about 60-70 percent longer than an overhead outage," says Lauer.

The committee was especially tough on the Lansing Board of Water and Light and its Chief Executive Peter Lark, who was in New York for two days during the middle of the wintry blast.

"BWL and their communications department failed. ... I think, as you look at it, going out of town when 40 percent of your customers are without power, is not a good thing," says Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R), Chair of the Energy Committee.

Lark did not attend the hearing in Lansing Tuesday.

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