Nessel files to intervene in DTE Energy’s $266M rate hike request

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(The Center Square) – One of Michigan’s main electricity and gas providers wants a $266 million annual rate hike, nearly a 10% increase for residential customers.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed to intervene in DTE’s gas rate case as an advocate for DTE’s natural gas customers across the state.

The case is before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Nessel and expert witnesses will examine DTE’s request and will argue against any increases in costs that aren’t reasonable and tailored to provide benefits to DTE’s customers.

“We will approach DTE’s latest gas rate increase request as we have every one that has come before it, and work to ensure that natural gas costs are affordable for our state’s utility customers,” Nessel said in a statement. “This is yet another in a continuing string of multi-hundred-million-dollar cases brought by the company. My team and its experts will carefully examine DTE’s requested increases and strongly object to any that are unreasonable or are more aligned to shareholder benefits than ensuring ratepayers can keep their homes warm all winter.”

DTE Energy manager of corporate Communications Chris Lamphear wrote in an email that DTE Gas hasn’t requested a base rate increase since February 2021.

“DTE Gas has not requested a base rate increase since February of 2021, meaning that when the MPSC makes its decision as late as November 2024, DTE Gas customers will have not seen a base rate increase in about three years,” Lamphear wrote. “DTE shares a mutual interest with the Michigan Public Service Commission in safely delivering energy to our natural gas customers, who reside in southeast, northern and mid-Michigan. This filing is just the first step in a ten-month process to determine how much the company can continue investing to replace more than 4,000 miles of aging, cast-iron pipes; manage double-digit inflation on the costs it pays for pipes, meters and other materials; and deliver on our promise of safe service while keeping energy affordable for customers.”

Michigan has eyed a 100% renewable energy standard by 2040, which will require new transmission lines that transport renewable energy, as well as overall energy grid improvements.

In July 2022, The Midcontinent Independent System Operator Board of Directors approved $10.3 billion in new transmission projects aimed to provide reliable energy.

The Center Square has previously reported that Michigan must build out its transmission lines because the current grid is designed to create a baseline load generation, meaning it provides instant energy, which nuclear, natural gas, coal and other energy sources provide.

Michigan aims to reach 100% renewable energy by 2040 but the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. So, Michigan must import energy from other states.

DTE provides natural gas to 1.3 million customers across the state and electricity to approximately 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan.

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