LANSING – DTE Energy filed a settlement agreement in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) case currently pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), which includes many of the improvements Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has called for to improve service reliability, affordability and accountability for Michigan ratepayers.
“This tentative settlement is a win for Michigan ratepayers,” Nessel said. “DTE has agreed to many changes that will help ensure accessibility for low-income residents, improved environmental standards and further transparency on DTE’s lobbying efforts before legislators.”
Highlights of the settlement agreement include:
- DTE ends its use of coal to generate electricity in 2032, nearly a decade earlier than the company had planned. The settlement closes the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in the United States (Monroe coal plant), which is considered the third largest polluter in the country by CO2 emissions. In terms of Michigan specific benefits, this settlement will result in 21.2 million fewer tons of carbon being emitted compared to the original 20-year period that the coal plant was scheduled to operate. This is a significant benefit for Michigan in reducing carbon emissions as well as a substantial improvement in air quality for the neighborhoods in which these coal plants operate.
- Customers save more than $100 million by securitizing at a lower rate over $1 billion in early retired coal plant assets as well as immediately reducing the return on equity on the currently operating coal plants.
- DTE donates $38 million; $8 million will be directed toward energy efficiency and renewable projects for low-income customers. $30 million will be directed to reducing arrearages for low-income customers.
- DTE agrees to provide transparency to its political donations. DTE will provide an annual public disclosure in October that includes all contributions made by every DTE entity (parent company, regulated utilities, etc.) which total $5,000 or more in the aggregate. This includes donations made to organizations that qualify as tax-exempt under Sections 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.
- DTE commits to apply for any state or federal funding that becomes available for retirement of the coal plants and pass along the net savings to customers.
- DTE commits to increasing the distributed generation cap from 1 percent to 6 percent, which will give more customers the option to own their own renewable energy.
- DTE will allocate a minimum of $43.8 million to income-qualified electric energy waste reduction programs in 2024 and $53.8 million in 2025, which will help customers lower their monthly electric bills and further reduce carbon emissions.
IRPs are filed at least every five years and provide a 5, 10, and 15-year projection of a utility’s plan to provide electricity to its customers through various generation resources such as nuclear power plants, coal power plants, natural gas power plants and renewable power plants (solar and wind). DTE filed its IRP case on November 3, 2022.
The MPSC is expected to consider the proposed settlement at its next meeting.
— Source: Michigan’s Attorney General Office. Edited for style.