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AG Nessel Helps Save Customers More Than $350M
November 22, 2022
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the Department of Attorney General successfully argued in favor of restricting a rate increase for DTE Electric Company.
The Michigan Public Service Commission authorized DTE Electric Company to implement a $30,557,000 rate increase effective November 25 which is less than 10% of its originally filed rate increase request of $388 million. DTE Electric filed the rate increase at the end of January to recover increased investments in the company’s generation and distribution systems to improve safe and reliable electric services. Under the proposal, residential customers would have seen an increase of approximately 9% with an 8% increase for commercial customers.
The Attorney General filed testimony in the case arguing that DTE Electric should not receive more than $60 million and that residential customers should receive no rate increase. After lengthy litigation with a number of parties participating in the case, the Commission approved only a $30.5 million increase which equates to only a 71 cent increase a month for the average residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. DTE Electric’s most recent previous rate increase was in May 2020 when the MPSC approved a $188 million increase after the utility requested approval for a $351 million increase.
“While I understand the need to improve electric services, my office is tasked with ensuring that rates are affordable for Michigan households and businesses,” said Nessel. “Working with great partners in this case, such as the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, Michigan Environmental Council, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Fund, we were able to convince the MPSC that DTE’s rate increase request was unreasonable and unnecessary.”
“DTE has been continually offering worse and worse service to its customers at higher and higher rates, so this decision was very much needed to send DTE a message that it needs to change, said Amy Bandyk, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Michigan. “CUB has worked with AG Nessel to show the Commission that DTE had not justified its expensive spending proposals, and the Commission cited our efforts in its decision.”
The largest amount of the reduction in the new approved rate increase came after the Commission determined that residential electric sales surged in 2020 and increased again in 2021.
In addition, the Commission also directed DTE Electric to prepare and submit, with its next rate case, a full scale, permanent Charging Forward electric vehicle program proposal that includes a cost-benefit analysis as well as distribution plans, overlay maps, charts, graphs and other visual and data displays to help better inform and understand the impact of infrastructure investments on customer communities.