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Washtenaw County to explore hourly credits for power outages, public utilities, price gouging

The sign outside of the Washtenaw County Administration Building in downtown Ann Arbor
Josh Hakala
89.1 WEMU
The sign outside of the Washtenaw County Administration Building in downtown Ann Arbor

A loaded resolution was passed unanimously by the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners who reflected the frustration of last week's ice storm. It addresses issues surrounding the area’s extensive power outages.

The resolution instructs county staff to explore a number of possible options to improve utility service.

Yousef Rabhi, the commissioner representing the 8th District, brought forth the resolution. Among his requests, he wants to determine the feasibility of a county-run municipal utility. Also, he wants to see the county lobby for passage of some bills in the state legislature.

Rabhi says one bill would give a homeowner a credit every hour they are without power and that dollar amount goes up the longer they’re in the dark.

“It is paired with another bill that has basically a frequent outage credit that gives people compensation for outages that occur frequently. And there’s a bill in the package that says none of this money can come from other rate payers, it has to come out of their profits.”

Other issues that will be explored include the possibility of imploring utility officials to answer questions of the board. And an investigation into reports of price gouging by local hotels in the wake of the ice storm.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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