Saturday, March 4, 2023

A love letter from DTE

Earlier this week, I received the following email from DTE:

At first glance, this all sounds pretty good - the letter makes it sound like DTE is aware that there is an electric reliability problem in my neighborhood, that they have analyzed the cause of the problem, and made some repairs which they expect to solve it. 

The problem is, I have been receiving emails, letters, and postcards like this from DTE multiple times a year since moving to my current neighborhood almost six years ago. They even held an in-person town hall meeting a few years ago, with actual distribution engineers present, to try to apologize for the frequent outages and explain what they were working on at the time to try to correct them. 

I am glad that DTE at least appears to be doing some work to improve reliability in the area, but despite the work that has been done, the lights keep going out (even during calm weather) and the apology letters keep flowing. 

At this point, their oft-repeated claim that "DTE Energy sets a high standard when it comes to providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service" feels more like the start of a bad joke than anything resembling an honest or realistic statement. 

One tip for anyone else who receives a letter or email like this one: The text (blacked-out in this example) after "id:" at the end of the letter contains the name of the distribution circuit that supplies power to your address. If you google your circuit name (in quotation marks, and try both with and without a space between the two parts of the name), you may find some interesting references to it in older MPSC filings; particularly if your circuit's reliability is among the 10 worst-performing in DTE's system.

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