Michigan Public Service Commission ruling supports DTE investments in a more reliable electric grid and the transition to cleaner energy
Detroit, Dec. 01, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
· Offset by a $300 million reduction in fuel and other costs, a DTE electric residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours, will see a bill increase of 9 cents per day, or $2.56 per month, to support needed investments
· Keeps average residential bill increase below the rate of inflation and below the national average
· Supports DTE’s plan to accelerate system upgrades, with the goal of improving reliability for customers by more than 60 percent over the next five years
*DETROIT, Dec. 1, 2023* — DTE Energy today announced an order from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) that supports DTE’s roadmap to improved reliability, a plan to accelerate system upgrades with the goal of improving reliability for customers by more than 60 percent over the next five years. A DTE electric residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours will see an increase of approximately $0.09 per day, or $2.56 per month, keeping bill increases below the rate of inflation. That calculation includes a reduction in fuel costs (known as power supply cost recovery) of $300 million in 2024, helping to offset customer bill increases while allowing investments to improve electric reliability.
“Based on the $300 million reduction in fuel and other costs we announced in November, our customers can expect to see a minimal impact on their electric bills as a result of today’s rate order,” said Trevor Lauer, vice chairman and group president, DTE Energy. “Our customers demand and deserve improved electric reliability; the rate order will allow us to continue to invest in the grid as well as transition to cleaner energy.”
*Improving Electric Reliability*: *Investing in the four-point plan*
Over the past five years, DTE has invested more than $5 billion in its electric grid and today’s ruling will help support the company’s plan to invest an additional $9 billion, over the next five years, to improve reliability. Specifically, today’s MPSC ruling will support DTE’s four-point plan to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, including:
· *Updating existing infrastructure: *This includes strategic investments in poles, wires, substations, transformers and upgrading the oldest circuits on the system to improve reliability. Planned infrastructure upgrades are detailed on the electric reliability improvements map on the DTE website.
· *Rebuilding significant portions of the grid:* Rebuilding older sections of the grid allows DTE to both increase safety and significantly increase reliability. During rebuilding, overhead equipment can be relocated underground where that makes sense. In addition, rebuilding increases capacity to support ever expanding electrification.
· *Transitioning to a smart grid:* With DTE’s Electric Systems Operations Center and recent launch of a grid management system, the company has laid the foundation of investing in smart grid technology. This technology will help DTE to quickly deploy crews to damaged areas and, in some cases, isolate the outage so power can be rerouted for customers while repairs are being made.
· *Tree-trimming to improve reliability:* DTE trimmed more than 25,000 miles of trees over the last five years and will trim 5,000 miles more this year. By the end of 2025, the company will have trimmed every mile of its grid. Equally important, tree trimming will continue on a five-year cycle to ensure that DTE continues to keep trees away from its equipment.
*Maintaining Affordability: Keeping rate increases below inflation and below other utilities*
Unlike its Midwest and national peers, DTE base-rates – the portion of customer bills that pay for infrastructure investments and other reliability work -- have stayed nearly flat since May of 2020, as DTE did not request a base-rate increase during the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021 to assist customers with affordability during uncertain times. However, to continue to make the transformational investments needed to reduce both the frequency and duration of power outages, while building out the electric grid to handle increasing demands and cleaner energy generation, DTE requested an increase in electric base-rates earlier this year. Today’s ruling is part of the utility rate-making process overseen by the MPSC and is the culmination of a 10-month process led by the Commission.
Nationwide, electric customers are experiencing rising rates as utilities grapple with the same challenges facing Michigan – increasingly volatile weather, inflation, aging infrastructure and the need to prepare for the future of increased electrification. Since DTE’s base electric rates were last increased in May 2020, Great Lakes (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin) and national average residential bills have increased on average by 5.3% and 6.5% per year, respectively.
With today’s MPSC order, the average DTE electric residential customer bill would increase about 1.2% per year from May 2020, well below the Consumer Price Index average annual increase of 5.5% and below Great Lakes and National averages. * * * *
*Supporting the most vulnerable *
No matter how modest a rate increase is, DTE recognizes the impact on vulnerable customers, which is why the company works closely with federal, state and agency partners to get aid to those in need. In 2021-2022 fiscal year, DTE connected customers to nearly $200 million in financial aid for their energy bills. Additionally, partnering with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, DTE directly applies aid to the accounts of many of its most vulnerable customers – work that has been spotlighted by the White House.
DTE continues to work with customers having difficulty paying their bills through several payment assistance programs and has expanded its income-qualified Energy Efficiency program to assist customers in making their homes more energy efficient and reducing their energy bills. The program is delivered through more than 30 nonprofit and community action agencies and has served over 50,000 customers since its inception.
*About DTE Energy*
DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy Company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric Company serving 2.3 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas Company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on custom energy solutions, renewable energy generation and energy marketing and trading. Through our commitment to cleaner energy, DTE Electric plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% and DTE Gas will plan to reduce methane emissions 80% by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable and affordable. DTE Electric and DTE Gas aspire to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. DTE is committed to serving with its energy through volunteerism, education and employment initiatives, philanthropy and economic progress. Information about DTE is available at dteenergy.com, empoweringmichigan.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.
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· Comparison of annual residential bill growth (% increase per year)
CONTACT: Pete Ternes