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Michigan regulators reduce DTE rate hike request by 47%

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Public Service Commission suggested DTE should not invest heavily in inefficient coal-burning power plants such as the River Rouge plant.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a $188 million dollar rate increase for DTE Energy. The power company had asked for a $351 million dollar rate hike. 

The regulatory agency expressed concerns about DTE’s plans to spend more on coal-burning power plants and several other issues.

Commissioner Daniel Scripps admonished DTE for not spending properly on maintenance and infrastructure. Customers complain about extended outages.

“Put simply, we expect that any dollars authorized to improve reliability will be spent to improve reliability. And we will continue to focus on ensuring accountability in this regard,” said Scripps.

The rate increase will amount to about four dollars more a month for a typical home.

“We are concerned about any rate increase, particularly during this COVID pandemic. But the commission took steps to really curb the amount of the increase,” said Charlotte Jameson, Program Director for Legislative Affairs with the Michigan Environmental Council. 

Environmentalists and consumer advocacy groups stated that the decision by the regulators reflected many of their recommendations. They thanked the Michigan Public Service Commission for holding DTE accountable for limiting its rate increase.

Not everyone was happy. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called the rate hike “outrageous” given the current pandemic and economic challenges faced by ratepayers.

DTE did not make anyone available for comment.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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