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DTE’s Commitment to Reliability Faces Skepticism

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Citizens Utility Board of Michigan has scrutinized DTE’s recent rate cases. Critics argue that the company prioritizes costly equipment replacements over effective outage-reduction methods. DTE’s commitment to reliability faces skepticism, especially regarding investments in outage-detection technology.

A utiltiy official told the Detroit News the rate increases are a response to renewable energy and climate policies imposed by the legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

DTE Energy Co. is seeking rate relief by petitioning the Michigan Public Service Commission for $456 million. The proposed increase amounts to 37 cents a day for customers who would experience rate hikes in January 2025. DTE aims to enhance grid reliability and transform energy generation. Despite a 3.1% home bill increase since January 2021 (below national inflation), the company attributes the need for relief to 2025 projects and higher finance expenses due to interest rates.

DTE officials propose a 37-cent daily rate reduction, but the commission may accept a range of 22-37 cents. The energy provider’s $9 billion dependability roadmap aims to reduce power outages by 30% and outage duration by 50% by 2029. DTE plans to achieve this through smart grid upgrades, technology investments, and infrastructure reconstruction.  

To modernize its electric infrastructure, DTE will deploy 10,000 smart gadgets on home circuits. These devices will enhance power rerouting and aid in locating circuit issues. The company emphasizes aggressive infrastructure updates, including replacing aging equipment. Notably, customers have reported a 90% reliability increase after thorough rebuilds.

Additionally, DTE plans to invest in reinforced poles, fiberglass cross arms, and tree removal. The rate relief proposal aims to address these critical infrastructure needs.

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