Detroit, May 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
- Infrastructure investments will allow DTE to continue its multi-year program that has so far led to a 30% improvement in electric reliability across its service territory
- Average DTE monthly residential electric bills for customers using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity are expected to increase by approximately $4 and remain below the national average
- Amid COVID-19 pandemic, DTE has extended its service protection period to June 1st and last week announced up to $40 million in bill relief for its electric customers in June and July
DETROIT, May 8, 2020 – Following a ten-month regulatory review process, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved new electric rates for DTE Energy customers. The new funding includes investments that will help DTE improve electric reliability, support Michigan jobs, reduce carbon emissions and provide needed upgrades at the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant.
The new rates will take effect May 15, 2020. A residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month is expected to see an approximate $4 increase in their average monthly bills. The average DTE monthly electric customer bill will continue to be lower than the national average.
Amid the health and financial hardships that many Michiganders are experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, DTE is taking several measures to assist its customers. The energy company has extended its service protection period to June 1st and is providing between $30 to $40 million in bill relief for its electric customers during the months of June and July, typically peak summer usage months.
To further help customers who may experience both short- and long-term income difficulties because of the pandemic, DTE recently launched a new Personalized Service Protection program. Customized services that are being made available to eligible customers include fee waivers, payment assistance and flexible long-term repayment options.
Improving Electric Reliability
The infrastructure investments approved in this rate decision will allow DTE to continue its multi-year program that has so far led to a 30% improvement in reliability across the energy company’s electric service territory.
New rate funding will also go toward DTE’s tree trimming program. Tree trimming operations are vital to maintaining and improving electric reliability performance. The majority of DTE’s outages are attributable to trees that fall on power lines. In most areas in DTE’s service territory where trees are trimmed, customers experience a 65% improvement in electric reliability.
Additionally, investments will support replacing aging equipment and modernizing the grid. Infrastructure improvements will be made leveraging proven technology solutions that will improve DTE’s preparedness for catastrophic events, provide better response times during outages as well as support the evolving way that customers will use the grid in the future as electric vehicle (EV) use increases.
Supporting Michigan Jobs
A key portion of the approved funding in this rate case will go toward supporting key infrastructure projects throughout Michigan. These projects will support jobs across the state and provide the power needed as the economy rebounds.
Funding will go toward supporting jobs and construction costs at DTE’s Blue Water Energy Center (BWEC) – an under construction, state-of-the-art, natural gas combined-cycle plant that is scheduled to be complete in 2022. The plant represents a nearly $1 billion investment in Michigan and construction jobs will peak at about 520 full-time positions during construction and will provide about 35 full-time positions once the plant is in operation.
DTE has spent $11.4 billion with Michigan-based businesses since 2010, creating or retaining 34,000 Michigan jobs. The energy company has more than quadrupled its investment with in-state businesses – today, nearly 65 cents of every dollar DTE spends goes to a Michigan supplier.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
DTE Energy has already reduced its carbon emissions nearly 30% since 2005. The company will further cut its carbon emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040 as it pursues a long-term, ambitious goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its electric utility by 2050.
To help meet its carbon emissions reduction commitments, DTE is retiring three coal power plants in two years. These plants represent about 20% of the generating capacity used to serve the peak energy needs of DTE customers.
A portion of the order approved in the Commission’s decision will support continued reliability and emissions reductions as DTE transforms its generation resources through these plants retirements.
Upgrading Storage Investments
Funding approved in the rate case decision will go toward upgrading the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant, which DTE co-owns with Consumers Energy. The plant is located on a 1,000-acre site on Lake Michigan in Mason County and is the second-largest pumped storage facility in the U.S. The plant generates hydroelectric power and supports DTE’s renewable energy generation. After plant upgrades are complete, Ludington will support enough power for 1.65 million residential customers – an increase of 250,000 customers over current output.
About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers tin Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects; renewable natural gas; natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage; and energy marketing and trading. As an environmental leader, DTE utility operations will reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions by more than 80% by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable and affordable. DTE Electric aspires to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. DTE is committed to serving with its energy through volunteerism, education and employment initiatives, philanthropy and economic progress. Information about DTE is available at dteenergy.com, empoweringmichigan.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com.
Pete Ternes DTE Energy 313.235.5555