Michigan Attorney General wants to cut DTE's requested rate hike by 90%

The Michigan Attorney General is intervening in DTE's latest rate case, seeking to reduce their requested increase by 90%.

The Metro Detroit utility company is looking for a $195 million increase from last year - which comes out to an 11% increase per residential customer

Dana Nessel has called the request "excessive and unreasonable," arguing DTE should receive no more than $19 million in its annual increase, according to testimony filed last week.

"Michiganders have been through a lot over the past year-plus, and I want to help make sure ratepayers are not blindsided by large increases in utility bills just when we are starting to see signs of returning to normalcy," Nessel said.

DTE's most recent increase was last August when the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a $110 million increase - which was a little more than half of what they asked for. 

Its newest request is intended for "extensive" infrastructure investments, increased operation and maintenance expenses, and lower expected revenue.

About $38 million of the rate increase has already been included in an "infrastructure surcharge," the request for additional dollars reflected in an increase in customer rates comes to $157 million.

RELATED: What's in DTE's newest rate hike request?

Of the total increase, a third is related to revenue from investments and property taxes. About $82 million is related to operation and maintenance, while another $20 million is linked to revenue decreases from transportation and revenue.

Both DTE and Consumers Energy have been piloting a new program that increases the summer rate that would send energy costs during the hottest parts of the day to their peak levels. The purpose is to get people to decrease their energy usage when air conditioning and other energy usage spikes.

Consumers ran a pilot test in 2019 with 50,000 people and said most people saved money with the model. DTE is trying a similar program with about 14,000 customers in Metro Detroit. 

"It's a small amount of difference between peak and off-peak compared to the normal rate, but it could amount to, on average, about $10, $12 of savings a month," said Chris Lamphear, with DTE.

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