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AG Nessel Denounces DTE’s Attempt to Pass Private Jet Travel Costs on to Customers, Seeks to Reduce DTE’s Requested 10% Gas Rate Hike by More than Half

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed testimony on Tuesday in DTE Gas’s most recent rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), calling out numerous unreasonable and, in some cases, plainly inappropriate requests from the corporation. Attorney General Nessel argued that most of the company’s requested $266 million rate hike request, which would represent an almost ten percent increase for residential customers, is excessive and unnecessary.

DTE’s request to raise customer rates, filed in January, requests a $266 million increase. Nessel argues that DTE should receive no more than a $112.2 million annual increase, which would represent around a 4% hike to customer bills. Her testimony seeks to provide DTE with necessary funding for infrastructure upgrades, while ensuring that any rate increase remains modest for all customers. Review of this rate hike request found that DTE is yet again seeking unsubstantiated costs, including an attempt to pass on to customers expenses to cover executive corporate jet travel.

“DTE files these rate hike requests fast and flimsy- we consistently find very little support for many of DTE’s claims,” said Nessel. “When the shady details crammed into these filings emerge into the daylight, a lot of the proposed spending is questionable at best, and at times downright insulting to customers. Case in point, DTE Gas is asking the MPSC for permission to bill its customers for corporate jet travel by executives. These are the kind of expenditures they hope we don’t notice, that drive up ratepayer bills, and offer zero improvement to service or reliability. This is why we scrutinize these rate hike requests, to look out for the interests of the customers these corporations consistently try to squeeze for more.” 

DTE is seeking to hike ratepayers' gas rates in this filing while simultaneously seeking another rate hike in another docket for their electric customers.

Since taking office, the Attorney General has saved Michigan consumers more than $3 billion by intervening in utility cases before the MPSC. Today’s testimony reaffirms her commitment to affordable energy for consumers.

DTE sells natural gas to 1.3 million customers across the state and electricity to approximately 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan. This month AG Nessel urged the MPSC to strike down DTE’s two latest requests for ratepayer reimbursements of inflated business-to-business costs. The Attorney General was successful in January in keeping over $600,000 in unjustifiable costs off the bills of DTE natural gas customers, and that same month announced her intervention in this rate case wherein DTE is seeking to raise residential gas rates by nearly 10%. In March the Attorney General intervened in DTE Electric’s latest rate hike request, filed a mere four months after their last electric rate hike was approved by the Commission. AG Nessel recently filed comment with the MPSC critical of DTE’s 5-year Distribution Plan, which neglected to provide utility accountability.

A copy of the Attorney General’s testimony can be found here (PDF).


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