DTE, Consumers give testimony to Michigan energy committee after widespread power outages

The Michigan Energy, Communications, and Technology Committee heard testimony from DTE Energy and Consumers Energy on Wednesday.

Watch the full hearing above.

This hearing comes after two winter storms lead to widespread power outages in Southeast Michigan. Many people went without power for days.

The utility companies discussed what went wrong and what steps will be taken moving forward. Both companies reiterated the need to make investments, with both saying they are working on automation to help reduce the length of power outages.

DTE President and COO Trevor Lauer said his company's issue isn't the frequency of power outages, but how long they last.

The committee and customers grilled the utility companies about the power outages, credits given to residents, and rates, while the companies apologized but often danced around questions.

A representative from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) also spoke at the hearing. DTE is currently working to get the MPSC to approve a rate increase. This process will continue into the fall.

Related: DTE Energy rolls out time-of-day rates

"As state representative, chair of the Energy Committee and vice chair of the Detroit caucus, I promised I would make sure there was a committee hearing to address who and what institutions are accountable and how we can avoid these large-scale power outages in the future," Rep. Helena Scott said. "I’ve kept true to that promise and acted quickly — on March 15, we will be hearing testimony from utility and state officials to figure out what needs to be done. We cannot and will not simply accept that this is our new normal. The power grid and associated infrastructure must be reinforced, updated and improved so that residents are safe, warm and receive the services they pay for."