DETROIT (WXYZ) — "We all already pay enough as is," said Jade Sanders as DTE Electric prepares to increase rates on Friday. "I feel like this is a horrible time to raise rates."
The Michigan Public Service Commission authorized the $188 million rate increase to modernize infrastructure and boost reliability.
The increase is much lower than the $351 million base rate increase that DTE Electric originally sought.
"A key portion of the approved funding in this rate case will go toward supporting key infrastructure projects throughout Michigan. These projects will support jobs across the state and provide the power needed as the economy rebounds," a DTE spokesperson said in a statement.
An average customer using 500 kilowatts a month currently pays $85 monthly. The rate increase will raise that monthly amount by about four dollars.
"I think the timing is certainly not ideal. We recognize the hardships that customers are going through, but we also think it's really important to continue to invest in the grid and continue to invest in the projects that we're moving forward with," said Trevor Lauer, President of DTE Electric. "We've got to balance the need to improve the electric grid and, relative, our bills are still below the national average."
Lauer said they are continuing to suspend shutoffs for seniors and low income customers and he urges anyone who is having trouble paying their bill to contact them for assistance.