DTE natural gas users will see monthly bills increase

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

A rate hike for DTE Gas Co. was approved Friday and will likely result in less than a $5-a-month increase for the utility’s 1.2 million customers who use natural gas.

The new rate takes effect Dec. 16 and is in addition to a rate increase in November. The combined increases will be less than $5- a-month for customers, DTE officials said Friday. The rate hike only applies to DTE customers’ natural gas service and not their electric service.

The hikes come after the Michigan Public Service Commission approved DTE rate hikes by a total of $122.2 million annually, or 33 percent below the $183 million the utility originally sought. DTE said it needed the hike to improve its natural gas infrastructure.

The state regulatory agency gave a different monthly price increase than DTE Gas, a unit of DTE Energy of Detroit.

“Customers using 100 (cubic feet) of natural gas a month will see an increase of $6.65 on their monthly bills over rates set in the last rate case, which was in December 2012. The increase is 21 cents over what the utility self-implemented in November,” the commission said in a statement.

DTE officials said the cost of natural gas is lower than in 2012, which is why the monthly bill increase will likely be less than $5.

“Although the commission’s order provides for an increase in distribution rates since 2012, over that same time period we have been able to more than offset that increase with the cost of natural gas. As a result, customer bills will be lower than they were in 2012,” Mark Stiers, president and chief operating officer of DTE Gas, said in a statement. “DTE natural gas prices remain considerably below the national average.”

Twitter: @LouisAguilar_DN