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AG Nessel Issues Letter Asking for an Investigation into DTE Energy’s eBill Program
October 06, 2023
LANSING – Today, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Chair to investigate DTE Energy’s eBill program as well as any other utilities’ similar programs across the state. The eBill program automatically enrolls a customer in DTE’s paperless billing program without any affirmative consent by the customer.
“For many people who are struggling to make ends meet, adding additional costs based on a change that was made without their knowledge and consent is completely unfair and must stop,” said Nessel. “I hope that the Michigan Public Service Commission will open an investigation into this practice to ensure that ratepayers are not facing additional burdens and that they require the company to provide refunds to the customers who were negatively impacted by this practice.”
As noted in the letter, it appears that customers who have shared their emails with DTE for other reasons may receive an email notifying them that they have been selected for an eBill trial. Unfortunately, DTE automatically enrolls the customer into the eBill program if they don’t affirmatively opt out of the program. The opt out language is at the bottom of the unsolicited e-mail, and thus likely not to be read by the customer.
Paperless billing without consent may cause a problem for customers who had previously opted-in to paper billing and are unaware that the utility made this change. As a result, the customer is at risk of delinquency and may be subject to late fees and shut off notices.
“This practice is especially troubling as we head into the colder months,” Nessel added. “It's essential that residents, especially seniors who are more likely to fall victim to this type of trickery, have reliable heat in their homes throughout the winter.”