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DTE customers not happy after yearly rate increases, AG Nessel asking for answers

Posted at 6:02 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 19:36:09-04

(WXYZ) — If DTE customers think they are paying a lot on their monthly bill already, they could be paying more next year.

According to Attorney General Dana Nessel, DTE has received $775 million in rate increases since 2015.

Rate Hikes:

  • $243 million in 2015
  • $184 million in 2017
  • $74 million in 2018
  • $273.3 million in 2019

The latest hike went into effect this past May.

Southfield resident Vivian Taylor is not happy that her DTE bill might go up next year.

“Please don’t. I don’t want to hear that,” she says.

The retiree has lived in her home for more than 30 years. Vivian and many others were without power when storms passed through our area last month.

DTE says in order help prevent future issues, like power outages, they have to upgrade the electric infrastructure and increase funding for tree trimming services. To do that, they have to raise rates again.

She said, “I think I’m paying enough.”

Nessel is also a DTE customer and says the company received a rate increase in May that trickles down to residential customers paying about 8.6% more a month.

“Tell us why it’s so important to raise your rates,” Nessel asked.

Now, she says the utility company wants another hike with residents paying another 9% more, while corporate customers pay a nearly 3% increase. She says she wanst to look into exactly how the money would be used.

“These are monopolies,” Nessel explained. “You don’t have a choice in terms of what particular company you can purchase your gas or your electric from.”

Vivian pays DTE about $200 bucks a month, if this increase goes through, she could see the monthly bill increase about $20.

“Along with the other responsibilities that we have in our household. It would be quite noticeable,” she said.

She says she doesn’t mind paying more for better service

Taylor added, “At least inform us as to what’s going on.”

Nessel agreed, “If they are going to pay these exorbitant rates my God at least be providing good service to people.”

DTE sent us this statement:

Last month, DTE Energy filed an electric rate review with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for the 2020 year. DTE is requesting funds to support continued investments in electric infrastructure, maintenance and IT costs.

Major components of this rate review filing request include:

  • An additional one-year (2022) surge in DTE's accelerated tree trim program
  • Continued investments in modernizing and upgrading our electric infrastructure, generation upkeep and the Blue Water Energy Center
  • Investments in IT services to ensure DTE systems are up-to-date and will deliver new and enhanced features to improve the customer experience.

The company also provided this video to explain how rates are set: https://vimeo.com/329839067/037a004dee