DTE rate increase, Line 5 replacement issues before Michigan energy regulator on Friday

In what could be a busy day for the state's energy regulator, the Michigan Public Service Commission will be weighing in on two major cases: a DTE rate increase request and its authority over the controversial Line 5 pipeline.

The MPSC dictates major levers of energy regulation and consumer costs for power and gas. During its Dec. 1 meeting in Lansing, the board will meet at 1 p.m. 

On its agenda is DTE Electric's request for $622 million in rate increases for its customers over the next year. That would raise an average customer's bill by $12.46, which is about a 14% increase from the previous bill.

The size of DTE's request is notable because it's much larger than last year's request when it pitched a $388 million rate increase in 2022. The commission only approved it to raise rates by $30.5 million. According to a release from the governing body, the biggest reason for the reduction was based on a dispute over the company's projections for future sales.

The regulator has also ordered an audit of DTE and Consumers Energy following a severe round of outages during severe weather in 2022. 

The other major piece on the commission's agenda is Canadian energy company Enbridge's request for approval to replace the Line 5 pipeline, which carries fuel under the Straits of Mackinac. 

The controversial pipeline has been a subject of intense pressure from the Michigan governor and environmental activists, who argue it puts the Great Lakes at risk of potential pollution from a possible oil spill.

Enbridge has continually ensured its infrastructure is safe and effective. 

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But concerns over its aging pipeline breaking have escalated to major courts as the state Attorney General has sought to revoke Enbridge's operating in the state.

The company's current request before the commission is meant to "alleviate an environmental concern to the Great Lakes raised by the State of Michigan" over the four miles of pipeline that travel under the lake's surface. 

According to the company's filing with the MPSC, Enbridge's plan is to bury the pipeline underground within a tunnel beneath the lakebed. 


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