DTE Energy's electric customers welcomed 2016 with lower bills, thanks to the company's efforts to lower costs.
DTE Energy in September 2015 filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission to nearly eliminate the Power Supply Cost Recovery surcharge. DTE reduced the PSCR to a negative .02 cents per kilowatt hour from 0.258 cents. As a result, average customers will see a reduction of about $1 per month in their bills as of Jan. 1, 2016.
"We are seeing lower coal prices and passing that savings on to our customers by reducing the Power Supply Cost Recovery surcharge," said Jerry Norcia, DTE Electric president and chief operating officer. "Additionally we have been working to use more coal blending options, which helps serve our customers at lower costs."
The reduction in customer bills achieved by the surcharge reduction offsets the $1 per month rate increase approved by the MPSC on Dec. 11, 2015. That ruling was interpreted incorrectly by the media, which reported that DTE customer's electric bills were increasing $8 per month when, in fact, the monthly increase from current rates was less than $1.
"It's important for customers to understand that the rate increase reported by the media was compared with rates in 2011, the last time the company filed for a rate increase," Norcia said. "A number of rate changes have occurred since then, and for the average customer who uses 650 kilowatt hours per month, the rate increase last month amounted to less than $1 per month from November 2015. Now, with this new surcharge reduction, customers are actually paying less for electricity than they were two years ago."
Norcia added that DTE "remains committed to making energy affordable, reliable and clean for our customers. Over the last four years we've invested $3.5 billion to make our power plants cleaner, improve service reliability and replace aging power plants."
Customers also will see the 43-cent monthly renewable energy surcharge removed from their bills, the result of more efficient operations and lower equipment prices.