The Defend Black Voters Coalition during a public meeting in Detroit on Wednesday called for the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject energy rate increases. | Ken Coleman
The Michigan Public Service Commission authorized last week DTE Electric Co. to implement a $30.6 million rate increase effective Friday — but that’s significantly less than the company’s original request.
In January, DTE Electric filed an application seeking a $388 million rate increase, but opponents in Southeast Michigan fought back against a hefty price increase on their bills. The panel approved the smaller increase on Friday, Nov. 18.
“This is great news and goes to show what happens when people stand together and push back against this kind of corporate greed,” said Ken Whittaker of the Defend Black Voters coalition, a group aimed at holding DTE Energy and Consumers Energy accountable. “The commissioners could have rubber stamped yet another price hike, but they chose to protect the ratepayers they were meant to serve. This time, the MPSC listened to us and we’re glad they made the right decision.”
Under the initial proposal for a nearly $400 million rate increase, it would have amounted to a 9% increase. With approval of the lower amount, a typical residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will see an increase of 71 cents, or .78%, on their monthly bill, according to the MPSC.
“This means more money in the pockets of working families and less for the right-wing extremist lawmakers supported by DTE that have been trying to disenfranchise Black and low-income Michiganders,” Whittaker said.
The commission directed DTE Electric to present evidence in its next rate case related to inflation adjustments needed for emergent replacements. DTE was also directed to file a report detailing the company’s current approach to enrolling customers in its Low-Income Assistance program.
The commission also directed the Energy Affordability and Accessibility Collaborative (EAAC) to initiate a stakeholder discussion of enrollment in the Low-Income Assistance program and work to define equity in energy infrastructure.
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