Michigan Public Services Commission Public Hearing About DTE

On Monday, August 22, The Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC), a governor-appointed board with the objective of overseeing telecommunication and energy services, held a rare public hearing on electricity rate increase request U-20836.

This request was submitted by DTE to raise an approximate $388 million in additional annual revenue, supporting enhancements in reliability and sustainability along with certain administrative costs. DTE cites that this will translate to a monthly increase of around 9% for residents (adding $10.31 to the typical monthly residential bill) and 4% for commercial customers.

Additionally, DTE’s request seeks to reduce the Distributed Tariff, or the amount of money that solar owners are compensated, for sending extra solar electricity back to the grid for DTE to sell and reuse. Right now solar owners are compensated at 8 cents per kilowatt hour, but now DTE is proposing to pay only 3.5 cents peer kilowatt hour. In addition DTE wants to add two new mandatory fees to solar owners called Demand Charges that would add around $60 per month.

The MPSC is scheduled to issue a motion by November 21, with DTE intending that the new rates become effective on November 23, 2022. The MPSC can proceed by adopting the proposal in full or they can adopt pieces of the proposal, thereby reducing the rate increase sought. Utilities are limited to one rate increase request per year.

The rate increase comes two years after a request from DTE to keep rates unchanged until 2022. Many utility companies in neighboring states have been forced to seek rate increases in response to the stark increase in commodity costs.

The hearing, held at Wayne County Community College, brought out a nearly completely full room of participants from all regions of Metro Detroit. Citizens of all stripes came – some business owners, some solar energy advocates – while most were residents seeking to have their voices heard. Politicians came out too. Congresswoman Talib, State Representative Laurie Pohutsky (pictured) and State Representative Rabhi, Wayne County Commissioner Jonathan Kinloch and Detroit City Council member Gabriela Santiago Romero and Angela Whitfield Calloway among them. Citizens lodged complaints against DTE for what they considered unreliable service and already high utility costs. One resident noted the substantial increase in residential rates over the last 50 years, while commercial rates have grown at a relatively smaller rate.

These public comments join the responses from nearly 30 intervening parties such as the business association ABATE, the Attorney General of Michigan, Walmart, and Kroger among them.

The case’s next milestone will come on September 16, when the cases Administrative Law Judge will review the public comments and responses in order to to issue a recommendation in the form of the request for decision (RFD).

Readers can stay informed on this case, or submit their own public comment by clicking the link below. https://mi-psc.force.com/…/in-the-matter-of-the…

Readers can read more about the MPSC here – https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/about

Readers can read more about rate case process here – https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/regulatory/ratemaking

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