Rate increase approved: DTE Electric customers will see hike in monthly bill

DTE Electric customers will see a rate hike in their monthly bill starting this month.

The Michigan Public Service Commission approved an approximately $273.3 million rate increase for DTE Electric Co., but denied the company’s request to assess a system access charge for customers who have installed renewable energy projects. The Commission also approved an electric vehicle pilot program.

Residential customers who use an average of 500 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will see bills increase by $6.19, or 8.69 percent. Commercial customers will see a 4.34 percent increase and industrial customers a 2.5 percent increase. The new rates are effective May 9.

The approved increase is nearly $203.3 million less than the $476.6 million total DTE had requested in July 6, 2018 (Case No. U-20162). In that fling, DTE proposed a $328.4 million rate increase and ending a $148.2 million rate reduction from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Included within the new rates was MPSC authorization for DTE to spend a total of $283 million on tree trimming through 2021. DTE is approved to spend $95.1 million this year on its Enhanced Tree Trimming Program, and nearly $188 million through 2021 for the first three years of a seven-year “surge” trimming program. 

DTE also was approved to make capital investments in its distribution system to increase resiliency and limit power interruptions. It will spend $84.3 million on an advanced distribution management system for reliable grid operation, $111 million for modernizing two system operating centers, and a system hardening and upgrade program in Detroit while also removing old arc wire in the city. 

DTE released this statement after the decision:

DTE Energy prioritizes customer affordability while making significant investments to improve the safety and reliability of the energy grid. The Michigan Public Service Commission-approved rate change will fund new and upgraded electric infrastructure and technology as well as an enhanced focus on tree trimming. 

The package also funds our “Charging Forward” electric vehicle pilot program to bring the benefits of EVs to DTE customers through customer education and outreach, charging infrastructure, and residential charging support. 

The order also sets in place a needed revision to the private solar compensation model, as called for in Michigan’s 2016 Energy Law. We appreciate the commission’s focus in this area and will be evaluating the order. We believe non-private solar customers should not have to cover the cost of additional grid use and services for private solar customers. With MIGreenPower, DTE’s clean energy option, many customers are attributing up to 100% of their energy use to universal wind and solar projects without investing in additional equipment or making exterior alterations to their homes.  

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.