After years of neglect, energy giant DTE again unabashedly asks to raise rates

Mar. 29, 2024 PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News




After years of neglect and power outages, too numerous to count, often attributed to tree-trimming and not the infrastructure, DTE Energy unabashedly filed another rate increase request-four months after the last one was approved. This time claiming the funds are need to improve reliability.

As we travel a road downhill, say nothing about an old broken-down grid, it’s obvious that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 100% green energy legislation set to ban natural gas power plants to install expensive and unproven carbon capture technology will require costly investments and make electric bills more unaffordable for many struggling residents and businesses.

Since 2010, DTE has been granted billions of dollars’ worth of rate increases, has the highest kilowatt-per-hour rate compared to the other largest utilities in the Great Lakes region, and has some of the most frequent, and longest lasting power outages in the country.

Last year MPSC approved DTE’s request for $368.1 million rate increase for customers that took effect Dec. 15, 2023, linked to “…speed(ing) up deployment of clean energy generation,” DTE asserted.

Matt Paul, president and COO of DTE Electric recently told The Detroit Free Press, DTE will use  funds from the latest request to install devices that can pinpoint more acutely and quickly locations of power outages. Paul said the increase, “If approved, also would support DTE’s plant to rebuild the oldest parts of its grid, building entire substations and circuits from scratch.”

“We have a vast system. It’s aging, and the weather is getting worse and we have a lot of work to do to upgrade it.” Paul added.

Oversight for the utilities comes under the MPSC 3-member regulatory board with authority to regulate rates for the state’s public utilities.

Former legislator Dan Scripps is the Commission chairman. Katherine Peretick, a former energy storage project developer, and Alessandra Carreon, with a background in “Carbon-Free Transportation,” are the other two commissioners. Each is appointed by the governor to a 6-year seat subject to the non-approval of the Michigan senate. Not more than two can be members of the same political party. Two votes can make a decision, and if one member abstains the other two gain in power proportionally.

Commissioner Peretick was quoted as saying, “Recent outages after storms are “unacceptable”

“The only way to improve is to fix the system.”

Utilities in Michigan are allowed to file a rate case every 12 months with the MPSC. Historically, DTE filed a rate case every three years, but now averages 15 months, almost yearly. The MPSC has only 180 employees, whereas DTE and Consumers Energy have unlimited resources to submit frequent rate cases.

DTE has without fanfare recently implemented its “Time of Day-Demand” rate increase. Demand charges, as the name suggests, fluctuate throughout the day allowing utilities to charge customers not only based on how much energy they consume, but when they consume it.

Here’s the DTE Time of Day rate table per kilowatt hour:

Off-Peak                                              Critical Peak

Time of Day  3 p.m. to 7: p.m             16.73 / Kw

Time of Day  11 a.m. to 7 p.m.           13.40 / Kw   (June 1 to Oct. 31)

Dynamic Peak Pricing                          12.67 / Kw

Critics of system argue demand charges are just a way for utilities to make more money.

The Free Press reported Republicans and some business groups assert that Whitmer’s new legislation will drive up electricity rates for Michigan residents. Whitmer and many Democrats have said they believe the legislation will reduce utility costs.


Plymouth Voice.






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