NEW POLL: Michigan Voters Want Legislature to Take Action on Clean Energy and Climate, Hold Utility Companies Accountable Following Blackouts

Wide, Bipartisan Majorities Call for Action to Strengthen Grid and Hold Utility Companies Accountable; 67 Percent of Voters Support Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan. 

LANSING, MI — Today, Evergreen Action and Data for Progress, joined by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan United, and Soulardarity released new polling that shows that a bipartisan majority of Michigan voters strongly support Michigan leaders taking aggressive action to make energy affordable in the state, hold utility companies accountable following the recent string of power outages, and accelerate Michigan’s transition to a just clean energy future. 

Following massive power outages over the past several months, voters are demanding action from the legislature on energy policy. Some 65 percent of voters—including strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—want the legislature to do more to hold utility companies accountable for blackouts. In addition, 73 percent of voters want the legislature to do more to keep energy bills affordable, and 65 percent of voters support Michigan transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy electricity grid by 2035.

The poll also shows that 67 percent of voters support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Health Climate Plan, including 89 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of Independents, and 49 percent of Republicans. The poll also shows strong support (87 percent) for the MI Healthy Climate Plan’s provision to improve the state’s power grid infrastructure to better withstand extreme weather events. 

Some key findings from the poll are below and the full results are available online here

Additional key findings: 

  • 75 percent were either impacted or know someone who was impacted by the recent power outages. 
  • 65 percent believe that the Michigan Legislature should be doing more to ensure that utility companies keep energy prices affordable. 
  • 91 percent have not received compensation from their utility companies following the recent power outages at the time of polling. 
  • 65 percent believe utility companies should be doing more to compensate customers for power outages

“The recent prolonged power outages that affected nearly one million Michiganders show just how much is at stake for Michigan communities when it comes to climate change, and this survey clearly demonstrates Michiganders want action to build a cleaner, more resilient, and more reliable energy system,” said Courtney Bourgoin, Evergreen Action Midwest senior policy and advocacy manager. “With historic funding available from the federal infrastructure package and Inflation Reduction Act, Michigan has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass legislation to strengthen the state’s energy grid and transition its power sector to 100 percent clean energy to mitigate the increasingly devastating impacts of climate change.”

“Our polling finds that a growing number of voters are experiencing the destructive consequences of climate change first-hand,” said Danielle Deiseroth, interim executive director of Data for Progress. “With 60 percent of Michigan voters concerned about future extreme weather events, it is clear that Michiganders do not yet feel protected from climate disaster in their communities. We find strong support from Michiganders for renewable clean energy, grid resilience, and environmental protection, as well as compensation to those affected by the recent power outages in the state.”

“This poll confirms what we suspected: Michiganders across the political spectrum are sick and tired of paying sky-high rates for terrible service from DTE and Consumers Energy, and they want state lawmakers to take action to hold the companies accountable,” said Perry, Michigan United environmental justice director. “And time is of the essence. The companies’ power outage problems will only get more severe as the climate crisis worsens, and so—like most Michiganders—we believe immediate steps must be taken to strengthen Michigan’s power grid and aggressively tackle climate change.”

"It's clear that residents are starting to see their quality of life being impacted by the effects of climate change when it comes to the delivery of power to their homes. It was bad before and now it is getting worse with the increase in the number of outages and how long they last, with last February as an example. We deserve better, and the MPSC has publicly agreed on numerous occasions,” said Rafael Mojica, programs director for Soulardarity. “Rate payers are now demanding that they back up those statements with stronger accountability for utilities like DTE and Consumers Energy. We also must pass legislation that will empower the MPSC with stronger tools to do their jobs, such as create automatic hourly compensation for people who lose power, require full financial transparency from utilities, implement a system where utilities gets paid proportionally to its reliability and service, and raise the 1 percent cap on rooftop and community solar."

“Michiganders are sick and tired of paying the highest costs for energy in the Midwest with the worst service,” said Nick Dodge, communications director for Michigan LCV. “People across the state continue to suffer from power outages while monopoly utility shareholders profit. People want action from state leaders. The status quo is no longer acceptable.”

From March 20th to 22nd, 2023, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 597 likely voters in Michigan using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, geography, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±4 percentage points. 

Evergreen’s new polling in collaboration with Data for Progress is a part of a multi-state effort to support and advance state progress on clean energy. State leadership—and effective, equitable state implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the bipartisan federal infrastructure law—will be critical to fully reach America’s pollution reduction targets, and to build a thriving and just economy run on clean energy.

About Evergreen Action:

Evergreen is a climate policy organization focused on building the ambitious, actionable policy roadmap for an all-out mobilization to defeat climate change—and to create millions of jobs in a thriving, just, and inclusive clean energy future. Evergreen partners with climate and community leaders and advocates for federal and state leaders to adopt the urgent climate policies that science demands.

About Data for Progress: 

Data for Progress is a progressive think tank and polling firm that arms movements with data-driven tools to fight for a more equitable future. DFP provides polling, data-based messaging, and policy generation for the progressive movement, and advises campaigns and candidates with the tools they need to win. DFP polling is regularly cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox, and hundreds of other trusted news organizations.

About Soulardarity: 

Soulardarity is building a brighter future in Highland Park with education, organizing, and people-powered clean energy. We are working to install solar-powered streetlights, save money on energy bills, and work together with our neighboring communities to build a just and equitable energy system for all.

About Michigan United: 

Michigan United is a coalition of labor, business, social service, and civil rights members all across Michigan, fighting for the rights of homeowners, renters, immigrant families, and students.

About Michigan LCV: 

Michigan LCV works to protect the air, land, and water in communities all across Michigan by activating voters to elect and hold accountable public officials who fight for an environment that sustains the health and well-being of us all.