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You can get an 'absurdly low' credit on your power bill as reimbursement for a power outage

With more intense storms, widespread power outages are becoming more frequent. (file photo)
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
With more intense storms, widespread power outages are becoming more frequent. (file photo)

People who lost power this week might be throwing out food and dealing with other costs. Under the Michigan Public Service Commission rules you could get a credit on your power bill. It's complicated, but in some cases you could get a one-time $25.00 credit as a reimbursement for the outage.

“Twenty five dollars isn’t going to cover, you know, the cost of you groceries, or if you have to relocate, or if you have to throw out medicine. It’s just absurdly low,” said Amy Bandyk with the Citizens Utility Board (CUB).

Not everybody is aware they can apply for the credit and many don’t.

The Public Service Commission is considering raising that credit to $35.00 and depending on certain circumstances a customer could even get $35.00 a day. The scenarios that determine the credit are complex.

“One of the good things about the new rules that will go into place, if adopted, is they would be automatic,” Bandyk said.

CUB suggested a simple two dollars for each hour the power is out, but the Commission dismissed that as “not reasonable.”

“With smart meters, the utility knows how long your power has been out,” Bandyk said, adding it would make everything more simple and more fair.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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