No more increases until failures that left Michiganders in the dark are fully reviewed, company profits examined
LANSING, Mich. – There should be a moratorium on residential electric rate hikes until independent investigations are held into why Michiganders suffer through more and longer outages than any other state in the Great Lakes region, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters said today, extending its call for the Legislature and Public Service Commission to hold hearings on failures by DTE and Consumers Energy during the recent summer storms.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer sent letters Friday to DTE and Consumers Energy, as well as the Michigan Public Service Commission, asking for an increase in customer credits for losing power and to make those credits automatic.
“Our state’s big utility monopolies are failing families and businesses, and we call upon leaders to halt any further rate increases on families until we get answers,” said Bob Allison, deputy director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “DTE and Consumers have used their high-paid lobbyists to push through nearly $1 Billion in rate increases over the past six years while paying out more than $10 million to their CEOs and raking in windfall profits. It’s high time for leaders in Lansing to hold DTE and Consumers accountable for their failure to provide affordable, reliable power to the people of Michigan.”
According to the independent Citizens Utility Board of Michigan (CUB), an independent organization representing the interests of Michigan’s residential energy customers, Michigan utilities lag far behind other states in terms of reliability:
- Michigan utilities had the second-worst restoration time per outage in the nation — even on days without major storm events.
- In the Great Lakes region, Michiganders experienced the most amount of minutes out-of-power on average annually.
In the last five years, DTE Energy has increased rates to the tune of $775 million with little improvements to service, while Consumers Energy is currently proposing a $225 million rate increase — just months after they hiked our rates this past January.
While DTE had profits of $1.4 billion and Consumers Energy’s parent company, CMS, raking in $680 million, Michigan ratepayers are experiencing unreliable service. More than 800,000 Michiganders lost power during recent storms and the utilities are now saying customers will have to file paperwork to receive a small credit for their troubles.
Media reports show that DTE and Consumers Energy paid no federal taxes in 2020, with utility spokespersons saying it would ultimately trickle down into savings to customers. Last year, both Consumers Energy and DTE spent more than $10 million paying their CEOs.