A Dec. 1 order from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) will cut DTE’s proposed electric rate hike by over 40%, down to about $368 million, compared to the $619 million originally requested by the utility. As a result, DTE residential customers will see their rates increase by about 6.4%%, rather than a 13.9% increase if DTE had had its way.
“Decisions like these from the MPSC are needed to turn around DTE’s abysmal record on reliability and affordability,” Citizens Utility Board of Michigan President Keith Cooley said. “The Commissioners agreed with CUB’s position that the utility failed to show that much of its grid investments are justified. DTE needs to be held accountable and prioritize reducing outages for its customers over earning profit for its shareholders. CUB is hopeful that this decision, as well as the MPSC’s order in DTE’s last rate case, indicate that the utility is being held to a higher standard of accountability than it was in the past.”
CUB, in cooperation with the Michigan Environmental Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, sponsored expert witness testimony showing that DTE’s spending proposals are not cost-effective and the utility is overlooking ways to improve the distribution grid and reliability while also spending ratepayer dollars more effectively.
In DTE’s last electric rate case, decided this February, the MPSC rejected 90% of DTE’s request.
The Citizens Utility Board of Michigan is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose members are individual residential customers of Michigan’s energy utilities. CUB of MI advocates in support of more reliable power, cost-effective investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy and against unfair rate increase requests.
In this issue we report promising developments in DTE's pending rate case, continuing discussion of performance-based regulation to make Michigan less vulnerable to outages, and more.Read more
July 26, 2023
By Amy Bandyk
Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Michigan
"DTE’s integrated resource plan shows that the company will support clean energy only if it can also saddle ratepayers with unnecessary profit for shareholders from coal plant retirements at the same time. The IRP settlement agreement that the MPSC is approving today includes a provision that allows DTE to charge its ratepayers for a 9% return for DTE shareholders on billions of dollars that make up the undepreciated book value of the Monroe coal-fired power plant, which will be retired. For 15 years, DTE’s customers will be paying off the Monroe coal plant plus the 9% return that represents pure profit for shareholders. DTE residential customers already pay some of the highest rates in the country for substandard service with frequent outages. It is obscene to pile this shareholder return on top of their already high bills.
It didn’t have to be this way. The clean energy progress that beneficial provisions of the IRP will achieve could have gone forward without the giveaway to shareholders. DTE could have planned to charge ratepayers for the undepreciated value of the Monroe coal plant over time, but without the 9% shareholder return.Read more
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