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Michigan AG Nessel Files Testimony in DTE Electric Securitization Case
May 12, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is working to save ratepayers money in a utility case currently before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).
Last Thursday, May 6, Nessel filed testimony in DTE Electric's securitization case, No. U-21015. A decision from the commission is expected around the end of June.
In its filing, DTE Electric requested to securitize certain costs pertaining to tree-trimming expenses and the retirement of its River Rouge coal-fired power plant.
While Nessel is supportive of certain elements of the filing, her testimony points out that there are ways in which this securitization process can be improved to save ratepayers money. She recommends:
- Issuing more securitized bonds, rather than removing certain deferred taxes from the bond issuance, to provide ratepayer benefits in the form of a lower cost of capital.
- Removing certain costs from DTE Electric's proposal due to the attorney general's proposed larger securitization amount and the company's failure to support certain costs.
- Amortizing, and recovering from ratepayers, securitized tree-trimming costs over a longer period than is requested, to align with the bond period and better spread-out costs for customers, as the benefits of tree-trimming are experienced for years.
"While I am generally supportive of shuttering and cleaning up the River Rouge site, as well as tree-trimming activities that enhance reliability, there are ways to structure the securitization process to make sure that customer costs are kept as low as possible. I plan to continue to intervene in all such proceedings, to make sure ratepayer-interests are represented," Nessel said.
If the Attorney General's recommendations in this case are accepted, it would save customers close to $14 million over 14 years. Since taking office, the Attorney General has helped save Michigan consumers more than $1 billion by intervening in utility cases before the MPSC. This latest testimony affirms her commitment to making sure Michigan utilities consider ratepayer interests in all activities.
DTE provides electricity to approximately 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and natural gas to 1.3 million customers across the state.