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DTE Energy begins time-of-day pricing for electricity in March

A picture of a digital electricity meter
A digital electricity mdeter

DTE Energy will begin new "time of day" rates for its customers in March to encourage customers to use less electricity during times of peak demand.

DTE customers will pay a little less for electricity than they are now, in "off-peak" hours, which is most of the time.

But they'll pay 35% more between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, from June through September. That's when the utility has to fire up its expensive gas peaker plants to meet meet high demand from air conditioners and other household appliances.

From October to May, the peak hour rate will be about 8% higher than the off peak rate.

"It's really designed to send pricing signals to the customers to demonstrate when electricity is most expensive," said Trevor Lauer, President of DTE's electric company. "And why it's more expensive is because you're using more expensive generating units to provide the electricity that's needed."

Lauer says customers who can reduce their electricity use during peak times can save money, and also help prevent grid brownouts.

Consumers Energy began a time-of-day rate structure in 2021. The utility charges a peak rate from June 1 through September 30 during the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The peak rate is about 1.5 times the regular off-peak rate.

For the rest of the year, Consumers charges its off-peak rate.

Editor's note: DTE Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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