Ann Arbor considers breaking with DTE, setting up own utility in wake of power outages

Following the most recent series of power outages across Southeast Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor says its considering breaking with the region's utility provider completely in search of a more reliable service for providing power, a release said this week.

The city council announced it would consider a feasibility study that analyzed creating a new public utility to provide electricity to Ann Arbor. Council members plan to discuss the study during its Sept. 6 meeting.

While the alert from the city came after a thunderstorm this week, the creation of the study has been the result of organizing by the nonprofit group Ann Arbor for Public Power for almost two years. They cited "DTE's poor reliability, high costs, and dirty energy mix."

Thunderstorms this week knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of residents in Southeast Michigan. At least 80,000 customers still hadn't had power restored by Thursday night - three days after the storm hit. 

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Two contractors were chosen to complete an energy options analysis that was authorized by the city in January. The goal would be to establish a 100% renewable electrical grid by 2030. There are three phases of the ongoing analysis:

  • Assess various pathways for the city to reach its 100% renewable energy goal
  • Assess establishing a full municipal utility that could provide the renewable energy to the city
  • Conduct a rate analysis of a sustainability energy utility

The primary contractor chosen for the analysis is 5 Lakes, who is collaborating with NewGen.