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DTE gets OK to raise electric rates starting Friday

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Posted at 12:21 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 06:27:27-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s biggest power utility can raise customer bills starting Friday after regulators approved a rate hike that is about half of what was sought.

The $188 million increase by DTE Electric, which has 2.2 million customers in southeast Michigan, is $3.93 a month, 4.7% more, for a typical residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity. The state Public Service Commission, in a decision late last week, said the impact will be softened temporarily in June and July when the utility passes on $30 million to $40 million in relief due to spending less on fuel.

“The commission does not take lightly its decision to authorize DTE to raise its rates but we are bound by law to issue a decision now,” Chairwoman Sally Talberg said in a statement. “There are pressing needs to upgrade aging infrastructure to ensure safe, reliable electric service.”

Detroit-based DTE had proposed a $351 million rate increase.

Regulators rejected more than $160 million in spending at coal-fired plants, citing insufficient support, potential changes to environmental rules or uncertain project timing. Environmentalists applauded the agency but said DTE should not have been allowed to raise bills for residential and small business customers while keeping industrial rates flat.