DTE agrees to $840,000 fine for improper shut-offs

Associated Press

Detroit – A mess over billings and improper shutoffs has led to an $840,000 fine for DTE Energy.

State regulators approved the settlement earlier this month. Sally Talberg of the Michigan Public Service Commission says the commission has “great concern when utilities violated consumer protection rules.”

The investigation began a year ago, months after DTE began using a new billing system. The commission received complaints that power was being improperly shut off. More than 4,000 customers did not receive a proper shut-off notice for nonpayment.

DTE has agreed to refund all deposits and reconnection fees. The utility also will be audited over its shut-off procedures until 2020.

A group known as the Residential Customer Group watched the case and objected to the settlement. Michelle Rison says the fine isn’t high enough, especially when some shut-offs occurred during cold weather.