DTE Energy to use $70M voluntary refund on tree trimming

DTE Energy tree trimming. (WDIV/DTE)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s Public Service Commission has approved an accounting measure that allows DTE Electric Co. to provide a one-time, $70 million voluntary refund to be spent on tree trimming.

The tree trimming is part of the company’s efforts to boost system reliability after power outages during severe storms across southeastern Michigan, according to the commission.

DTE Electric had requested approval of a one-time regulatory liability and accounting authority to use a portion of unexpectedly higher profits from changed electricity use patterns of its retail customers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The utility said the money would fund an additional surge in tree trimming in response to the summer’s storms. The trimming is expected to take place during the remainder of 2021 through 2023.

The $70 million is in addition to $283 million the Public Service Commission authorized DTE to spend on tree trimming in 2019-2021, the commission said.