Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Who am I, and why am I blogging about DTE Energy?


I have been a DTE residential customer (or "ratepayer," as the company tends to call us) since about 2005 and, for almost as long, have been unimpressed with the company's electric service. I have found their electric service reliability to be poor in several locations throughout southeast Michigan, have had the company refuse to address chronic voltage problems, and find the price they charge to be rather high, especially for such poor-quality service.

In addition to being somewhat dissatisfied with DTE's electric service, I am also a nerd with a strong interest in the technical (and, to a lesser extent, the business) aspects of the electric generation, transmission, and distribution industries. Because of this, I have spent quite a lot more time than the average customer reading various documents including those filed in DTE's various cases before the Michigan Public Service Commission (the state body responsible for regulating electric utilities in Michigan). 

These documents contain a lot of interesting information, but they aren't particularly accessible to the average person. They are often very long, poorly indexed, difficult to search, and written in a difficult-to-understand legal/technical style. The documents tend to contain a very large amount of information that is not particularly interesting to most people, which makes it additionally difficult to find the interesting-and-relevant details they do also contain.

In 2022, I began following the application DTE had made with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to raise their rates and make various changes to their rate structures. A pattern emerged in which I would occasionally find a few paragraphs' worth of material my nerdier friends and I found interesting in any given multi-hundred-page filing in the case. Distributing this information to the friends and acquaintances who found it interesting proved to be somewhat unwieldy, and I received more than one suggestion that I should start a blog to write about such things. 

It is now February 2023 and DTE has filed another rate case (as they're called) with the MPSC. So, I've started this blog to post my analysis of and opinions about the new rate case as well as other DTE and energy-related matters.

Educational and professional background

While I am interested in electric power systems and have an undergraduate-level engineering education, I:
  • am not, and have never been, a Professional Engineer.
  • do not work in the electric power industry in any capacity.
  • have no formal education in electric power systems or business.
  • have very little formal education in economics.


I think this post encompasses what you might want to know about me and where I'm coming from with what I write on this blog. My next post will be an analysis of what DTE is requesting in their initial filing in their 2023 rate case U-21297.

1 comment:

  1. My DTE bill went from $156.89 last December 2022 to $421.39 this December 2023. The interesting part is, last December we had four people in my household and this December we only had three people. We did not put up Christmas lights outside this year and last year did. Our energy usage is less this year but my bill shows the usage is more. There is absolutely no way it is more because two weeks of the billing cycle, I was out of town with my daughter and the only person at our home was my husband. Our electric bill is normally lower in the winter because we use propane to run our furnace. Our propane normally costs around $375.00-$500.00 per month during the winter, depending on gas rates. I don’t know how anyone will be able to afford anymore monthly increases?!