13th July 2024

LANSING — The Michigan Public Service Fee permitted a settlement [last week] led by advocacy organizations on behalf of utility prospects that can require DTE Power to emit much less air pollution and make investments extra in renewable vitality, vitality effectivity, and help to low-income ratepayers.

The coalition was vocal in pushing for enhancements to the insufficient plan DTE initially submitted, which did not guarantee equitable entry to scrub vitality or spend money on vitality effectivity packages to make vitality payments extra reasonably priced for ratepayers. Organizations rallied 1000’s of Michiganders to contact the MPSC, demanding that DTE ship a plan that ensures clear, renewable, reasonably priced vitality for all. The mixed efforts of grasstops and grassroots activists resulted in huge enhancements to the plan that can capitalize on historic clear vitality funding and obtainable incentives.

Wins from the settlement embody:

  • Securing an earlier retirement date for DTE’s Monroe coal plant — one of many dirtiest within the nation.
  • Directing $70 million in vitality effectivity funding towards packages for income-qualified prospects.
  • Requiring DTE to pay $38 million into community-led packages to help low-income prospects, with $30 million allotted to vitality help and $eight million to help organizations that can present photo voltaic and battery set up, together with funding for dwelling repairs and vitality effectivity wanted to finish these upgrades.
  • Past DTE’s requirement to reveal political contributions, the utility will probably be required to file public disclosure stories yearly that element any contributions to people and different entities including as much as at the least $5,000.

“Michigan’s soiled air woes are a stark reminder of the necessity for extra clear vitality within the state,” mentioned Derrell Slaughter, MI clear vitality advocate at NRDC (Pure Sources Protection Council). “The settlement settlement for vitality effectivity, battery storage and cleaner applied sciences will clearly profit the well being of shoppers by slicing harmful air air pollution. The suggestions are a win for Michiganders, however it’s not sufficient. The Legislature should act swiftly and decisively on local weather and clear vitality laws. The time for motion is now, and collectively, we will make an enduring distinction for generations to return.”

“DTE’s plan must prioritize BIPOC and low-income communities which have suffered the devastating public well being impacts from air pollution and the local weather disaster first and worst,” mentioned Gloria Lowe, Founder and CEO of We Need Inexperienced Too. “A number of latest outages present we should take swift motion to gradual local weather change to keep away from even worse storms and warmth waves sooner or later. Simply final yr, Shoppers Power agreed to go coal-free by 2025 and whereas DTE will retire its Monroe coal plant sooner than scheduled, working it till 2032 and the utility’s reliance on fracked fuel continues to be problematic. We’ll proceed preventing to finish the usage of fossil fuels in Michigan to guard the well being and surroundings of our communities.”

“This settlement is a step in the appropriate route and it solely occurred on account of advocacy from organizations throughout the state who intervened, obtained ratepayers concerned and put the massive vitality utility’s ft to the hearth,” mentioned Nick Dodge, communications director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “We now have unprecedented quantities of federal funds obtainable to make investments in clear vitality, vitality effectivity and to decrease prices for ratepayers. Members of the Legislature ought to now look to move clear vitality laws that empowers the Michigan Public Service Fee to additional maintain utility corporations accountable, seizing this second to transition to cleaner, extra reasonably priced vitality.”

“DTE has lengthy been a roadblock in our battle to develop community-based and rooftop photo voltaic. We’d like vitality independence to guard us from DTE’s excessive charges and continuous energy outages. The settlement settlement will enable extra folks to put in rooftop photo voltaic and require the utility to supply funding for community-based organizations to supply photo voltaic and battery set up for low-income prospects.” mentioned Rafael Mojica, Program Director at Soulardarity. “It is a win, however DTE shouldn’t get to resolve what number of prospects can present their very own vitality. It’s time for the legislature to take motion so we don’t should depend on the utilities to make selections for us.”

Sierra Membership’s Michigan Subject Supervisor, Andrew Sarpolis, mentioned, “DTE’s Monroe coal plant is an enormous air polluter, impacting public well being and our local weather in Michigan. Each further yr of its operation exacerbates local weather change and harms our communities. By retiring the plant sooner, we will have a higher constructive influence on the state’s well being and local weather.”

Courtesy of NRDC.

 


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