utilities http://michiganradio.org en More options, protections against heat shutoffs this winter – but no guarantees http://michiganradio.org/post/more-options-protections-against-heat-shutoffs-winter-no-guarantees <p>Michigan customers who struggle to pay heating bills have some additional legal protections from heat shutoffs this winter.</p><p>But with the ongoing brutal cold, this will prove a painful winter for people already struggling to pay utility bills. And some households still face the very real prospect of going without heat.</p><p>In 2013, the state implemented <a href="http://www.weltman.com/publications/articles/?i=774&amp;NH">a variety of new rules</a> outlining how and when utilities can shut off service to residential customers.</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 19:00:02 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 16192 at http://michiganradio.org More options, protections against heat shutoffs this winter – but no guarantees Many Michiganders are still waiting for their electricity to be turned back on http://michiganradio.org/post/many-michiganders-are-still-waiting-their-electricity-be-turned-back <p>Consumers Energy and DTE linemen return to work today hoping to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of Michigan utility customers left in the dark by Sunday’s windstorm.</p><p>At last report, DTE says it still has about 150,000 customers waiting to have their electricity turned back on.&nbsp; &nbsp;Consumers Energy has more than 170,000 of its customers waiting for their power to be restored.</p><p>Last night was not a good time to be without electricity. Temperatures around the state dipped below the freezing mark.</p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 10:14:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 15337 at http://michiganradio.org Many Michiganders are still waiting for their electricity to be turned back on More Michigan utility customers get credit for generating excess power http://michiganradio.org/post/more-michigan-utility-customers-get-credit-generating-excess-power <p>LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More wind and solar energy users in Michigan are getting billing credit for excess power they generate.<br><br>State regulators issued a report last week showing utility customers with their own windmills and solar panels onsite increased the net metering program's production size by 55% from 2011 to 2012.<br><br>There also were more than 300 additional residential or business customers taking part in the program last year than the year before.<br> Mon, 02 Sep 2013 13:09:44 +0000 The Associated Press 14229 at http://michiganradio.org More Michigan utility customers get credit for generating excess power Lansing's new power plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions http://michiganradio.org/post/lansings-new-power-plant-will-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions <p>Michigan’s first new utility built power plant in 25 years was fired up today in Lansing.</p><p></p><p>The Reo Town power plant’s natural gas powered turbines whirled to life this morning.</p><p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 15:55:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 13317 at http://michiganradio.org Lansing's new power plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions Detroit City Council paves the way for public lighting authority http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-city-council-paves-way-public-lighting-authority <p>The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved articles of incorporation&nbsp;for a public lighting authority in the city.</p><p>The state legislature passed bills in December enabling the lighting authority. Detroit has chronic problems keeping many of its streetlights on, though no one can say for sure how many aren't working at any given time.</p><p>It allows Detroit to retain ownership of its lighting system, but lets&nbsp;the authority run it. The city currently has about 33,000 lights on&nbsp;its grid; DTE Energy has the other 55,000.</p><p>Now that Council has approved its articles of incorporation, the next&nbsp;steps are to find five Detroit residents to act as board members.</p><p>Council President Pro-Tem wants to move as quickly as possible to get&nbsp;the authority up and running—and get some of Detroit’s&nbsp;chronically-dark streets lit.<br>&nbsp;</p><p>“We need to be out of the business of public lighting,” Brown said.</p><p>The authority has the ability to issue bonds to upgrade Detroit’s lighting infrastructure. The legislation also carves out $12.5 million&nbsp;of the city’s utility</p><p>The resolution passed over the objections of some Council members.</p><p>They’re concerned that streetlights will be turned off forever in some&nbsp;targeted neighborhoods—and taxpayers living there will foot the bill&nbsp;anyway.</p><p>“The corporation will make all the revenue and profit, while the&nbsp;taxpayers pay off the debt,” Council member JoAnn Watson said. “The&nbsp;city of Detroit’s proposal would only provide designated neighborhoods<br>with streetlights, but every taxpayer in the city will pay for it.”</p><p>Council member Ken Cockrel Jr. says there are “a lot of perfectly&nbsp;legitimate concerns” with the plan.</p><p>"But they probably should’ve been raised six months ago before we&nbsp;approved a resolution, sent it to the legislature, and got the&nbsp;legislature to create the authority,” Cockrel said. “You can’t turn&nbsp;back the clock at this point.”</p><p>One of the authority’s biggest decisions will be to decide how many of&nbsp;Detroit’s estimated 88,000 streetlights should remain on. That&nbsp;number—and where service is concentrated—are likely to be major points&nbsp;of contention in coming months.</p><p>The legislation calls for taking about 40,000 lights offline.</p><p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 02:05:39 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 11108 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit City Council paves the way for public lighting authority DTE shareholders meeting met by protests http://michiganradio.org/post/dte-shareholders-meeting-met-protests <p>DTE Energy shareholders <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/dte-energy-shareholders-meeting-protest_n_1474638.html">were met by protesters</a> at their annual meeting in Detroit Thursday.</p><p>Hundreds of people demonstrated outside the company&rsquo;s Detroit headquarters. &nbsp;And inside, several interrupted CEO Gerard Anderson as he tried to run the meeting.</p><p>Protesters shouted for DTE to &ldquo;Pay its fair share!&rdquo;</p><p>They were talking about the fact that DTE was named as one of the nation&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/representation-without-taxation">&ldquo;Dirty 30&rdquo;</a> companies in a recent report&mdash;one that paid more in lobbying expenses than federal income taxes from 2008 to 2010.</p><p>Demonstrators also protested the utility&rsquo;s shutoff policies. The utility shut off service to 200,000 in its southeast Michigan service area in 2011.</p><p>That number has more than doubled over the past five years.</p><p>Demonstrators also criticized DTE&rsquo;s continued reliance on coal-fired power, rather than renewable energy.</p><p>Protester Thomas Reinke said renewable power sources are now both cleaner and less expensive than coal.</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;We&rsquo;re getting poorer and poorer every day, and we&rsquo;re being forced to pay high costs of utilities that could be offset by wind and solar, or other types of renewable energy,&rdquo; said Reinke, who says he owns a small, residential renewable energy business.</p><p>DTE officials announced Thursday that they&rsquo;re looking for more wind energy suppliers.</p><p>&ldquo;DTE Energy is seeking approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from Michigan-based wind projects that will be operating by the end of 2013.&nbsp; This solicitation is part of DTE Energy&#39;s plan to meet Michigan&#39;s renewable energy goals,&rdquo; the company said in a written statement.</p><p>By state law, they must provide 10% of their power from renewable sources by 2015.</p><p>As for the tax-dodging accusations, a DTE spokesman counters that the utility has paid more $1 billion in taxes since 2008, mostly to state and local governments.</p><p> Thu, 03 May 2012 21:18:35 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 7328 at http://michiganradio.org Planned power outage leaves thousands without light, heat in Detroit http://michiganradio.org/post/planned-power-outage-leaves-thousands-without-light-heat-detroit <p>Households and businesses in one section of Detroit <a href="http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/power-restored-to-dte-customers-in-detroit-neighborhoods-20120104">lost power for a few hours</a> Wednesday morning.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because DTE Energy was performing what it calls &ldquo;routine maintenance&rdquo; on some underground power lines.</p><p>Mid-morning, generators were still humming at Holbrook Auto Repair in &nbsp;Highland Park. Manager Jeff Worthy bought them this week, when he found out DTE planned the temporary power outage.</p> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 22:04:13 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 5643 at http://michiganradio.org Planned power outage leaves thousands without light, heat in Detroit DTE cuts power in parts of Detroit and Highland Park for maintenance http://michiganradio.org/post/dte-cuts-power-parts-detroit-and-highland-park-maintenance <p><strong>12:16 p.m.</strong></p><p>As it turns out, the planned power outage in parts of Detroit and Highland Park were over by the time the post was put up below. The Associated Press reports:</p><blockquote><p>A planned power outage has wrapped up earlier than expected in part of Detroit and Highland Park after crews worked to repair some underground lines.</p><p>DTE Energy Co. said Wednesday&#39;s outage affected about 3,500 customers in Detroit and the Detroit enclave.</p><p>Officials said the power was shut down to the area as planned about 6 a.m. EST. The power was back on before 11 a.m, more than three hours earlier than expected.</p></blockquote><p><strong>11:35 a.m.</strong></p><p>Around 3,500 DTE Energy customers in Detroit and the Highland Park area have had their power cut while the utility company performs &quot;routine maintenance.&quot;</p><p>Some question whether the timing of the routine maintenance was wise given the cold temperatures.</p><p><a href="http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/dte-cuts-power-to-3,500-customers-in-detroit-20120104">Fox News</a> in Detroit reports the maintenance was originally scheduled for this past fall:</p><blockquote><p>DTE Energy told FOX 2 the routine maintenance was originally slated for late September or early October, but together with city officials and community leaders, they decided January fourth would be better. That way schools aren&#39;t impacted.</p></blockquote><p>A video posted by the <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20120104/NEWS01/120104014/DTE-Energy-power-Detroit-Highland-Park?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p">Detroit Free Press</a> shows at least two customers in the area are taking the outage in stride.</p><p>The Free Press reports that three activity centers have been opened as warming centers in the area:</p><blockquote><p>...the City of Detroit has designated three recreation centers as warming centers.</p><p>The warming centers are Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers Road; Butzel Family Center, 7737 Kercheval, and Farwell Community Center, 2711 E. Outer Drive.</p></blockquote><p>The power is expected to be turned back on at 2 p.m. Michigan Radio&#39;s Sarah Cwiek is following this story as well. Wed, 04 Jan 2012 17:16:03 +0000 Mark Brush 5632 at http://michiganradio.org DTE cuts power in parts of Detroit and Highland Park for maintenance Protesters target DTE Energy http://michiganradio.org/post/protesters-target-dte-energy <p>Many people are worried about a long, cold winter ahead for low-income people who could face utility shutoffs.</p><p>That&rsquo;s particularly true in Detroit, where <a href="http://www.detnews.com/article/20111101/METRO01/111010515/1409/metro/Occupy-Detroit-protesters-to-march-against-DTE-rate-increase">dozens of people protested </a>about the issue in front of DTE Energy headquarters.</p><p>The protesters want DTE to end utility shutoffs in the winter months, and create a rate structure that better accommodates the elderly, disabled, and poor.</p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 01:14:29 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 4800 at http://michiganradio.org Water rates spiking in Benton Harbor http://michiganradio.org/post/water-rates-spiking-benton-harbor <p>Water bills in Benton Harbor will jump at least 40-percent in November.</p><p>Benton Harbor&rsquo;s water system has served the city and surrounding Benton Charter, St. Joe Charter, Hagar and Sodus Townships. Earlier this month Benton Township put its own system online.</p><p>The township decided to separate from Benton Harbor after years of mismanagement by the city. Mon, 31 Oct 2011 09:30:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 4755 at http://michiganradio.org Consumers Energy posts profit in 2010 http://michiganradio.org/post/consumers-energy-posts-profit-2010 <p><a href="http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=101338&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=1532410&amp;highlight=">Consumers Energy</a> has been busy this week reconnecting tens of thousands of customers who lost power during last Sunday&#39;s ice &amp; snow storm.&nbsp; So it could be argued the utility was due some good news.&nbsp; Today CMS Energy announced the Jackson-based utility profits increased last year.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 14:48:09 +0000 Steve Carmody 1406 at http://michiganradio.org Consumers Energy posts profit in 2010 Thousands seek utility assistance in Detroit http://michiganradio.org/post/thousands-seek-utility-assistance-detroit <p>Thousands of DTE Energy customers came to Detroit’s Cobo Hall looking for help today (Monday). The utility hosted its third “customer assistance day” there.</p><p>DTE Vice President Joyce Hayes Giles says the event is a “one-stop shop” to match customers with government and non-profit utility assistance programs.</p><p>Hayes Giles says the high turnout isn’t surprising.<span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><blockquote><p>“It speaks to the need in our community. But it also speaks to the fact that we’re going to help a number of customers and we’re really pleased to be able to do that.”</p></blockquote><p><span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p><p>Hayes Giles says DTE also raised more than a million dollars for its own customer assistance program. That money will be refunded to qualified DTE customers as credits on their monthly bill. Mon, 13 Dec 2010 23:03:42 +0000 Zoe Clark 572 at http://michiganradio.org Thousands seek utility assistance in Detroit Lansing BW&L gets key state permit for new power plant http://michiganradio.org/post/lansing-bwl-gets-key-state-permit-new-power-plant <P>The <A href="http://www.lbwl.com/">Lansing Board of Water &amp; Light</A> has gotten a key state permit clearing the way for construction of a new $182 million <A href="http://www.lbwl.com/mooresparkreplacementproject.asp">cogeneration power plant</A>.&nbsp;</P> <P>The <A href="http://www.michigan.gov/dnr">Department of Natural Resources and Environment</A> granted the permit.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</P> <P>A Lansing BW&amp;L spokesman says the utility will now move to issuing bonds to pay for the project. The utility hopes to begin operating the new power plant in 2013.</P> <P>The power plant will rely on natural gas to produce electricity. Lansing utility officials say it will eventually replace an aging coal-fired power plant. Wed, 08 Dec 2010 21:14:23 +0000 512 at http://michiganradio.org Lansing BW&L gets key state permit for new power plant Detroit utility struggles to stay on top of theft http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-utility-struggles-stay-top-theft <p>If you walk into a gas station or a party store in the city of Detroit, you might see a flyer taped up, advertising &quot;help with gas and lights.&quot;</p><p>But the phone number probably won&rsquo;t connect to a charity program or aid organization. More likely, it&rsquo;ll put you in touch with a fixer who will help you steal electricity or natural gas.</p><p>Trying to shut the problem down is a team of investigators from DTE Energy. Every day of the work week, they embark on what seems like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.</p> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 13:32:18 +0000 Sarah Hulett 221 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit utility struggles to stay on top of theft