Protesters want DTE held accountable for rate hikes, political influence

In the shadow of DTE Energy in downtown Detroit, a group of community activists gathered to "take back their power."

The rally was being held a day prior to a scheduled shareholder meeting by DTE Energy.

"We’re not comfortable, we're scared, we're in fear and we don’t need to be that way," said Makese Taylor, activist.

Ebony Taylor is from the Mothering Justice Action Fund.

"We are here to call on the shareholders to fire the board of directors that were charged with political spending and oversight," Taylor said.

US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) is a familiar face when it comes to opposing the practices of Detroit’s power company.

"Investor-owned utilities will always put profits over our people," said US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan). "They have $1.1 billion dollars in profits. What do they do with that? What did they do with the previous increases they've had in the past? We are talking about one of the highest rate increases in the nation. We're a large country, and they are at the forefront of doing that, even though we have one of the most unreliable grids."

The winter outages that lasted days for hundreds of thousands in Metro Detroit has the congresswoman wondering why Michigan? Other Midwest states have similar weather but not nearly the number of outages.

The congresswoman has access to reps from those states in Washington DC.

"I go talk to them and I ask them what’s up? And they say they have a strong structure with more oversight and accountability," Tlaib said.

DTE issued the following statement on the claims made during the rally:

"DTE Energy follows and exceeds all applicable state and federal laws regarding the reporting of lobbying expenses and the standards set by law for disclosure of corporate political contributions. in addition, DTE's expenses toward lobbying, political contributions and memberships are reported annually to the Michigan Public Service Commission and are not included in rates charged to customers."

The Michigan Public Service Commission is currently considering another proposed rate hike for customers of DTE.