DTE: Tax reform to save customers 3%

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

DTE Energy customers can expect to save a little money on their gas and electric bills, thanks to the federal tax overhaul, company officials said Tuesday.

Last month, President Donald Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that went into effect this year.

Under the overhaul, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the corporate tax rate dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent, effective Jan. 1. It also says savings realized by utility companies could be passed on to ratepayers.

DTE Energy’s gas and electric customers can expect to see their rates drop about 3 percent, the company said. Based in Detroit, DTE Energy serves 2.2 million electric utility customers in southeast Michigan and serves 1.3 million natural gas customers across the state.

“The recent passage of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will offer benefits to energy customers across the country — including DTE’s utility customers here in Michigan,” the company said in a statement. “The reduction of the corporate tax rate will result in lower bills for DTE’s 2.2 million electric and 1.3 million gas customers. In 2018, a savings of nearly $190 million will be passed along to customers.”

Consumers Energy officials said Tuesday their customers will also see some savings because of the new tax law, but it’s not clear how much yet.

They said specifics will depend on what rate reduction is approved by state regulators, according to Katie Carey, a spokeswoman for the Jackson-based company.

“Today, Consumers Energy was pleased to submit a proposal to the Michigan Public Service Commission that would lower customer bills starting in 2018 by approximately $200 million, as a result of the recent federal tax reform changes,” Patti Poppe, the company’s CEO, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to pass along 100 percent of the savings from tax reform to the people we are privileged to serve.

“This underscores our commitment to people, planet and prosperity for all of Michigan.”

Consumers Energy is the state’s largest energy utility provides natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million Michigan residents in all of the state’s 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

DTE Energy’s residential electricity customers pay about $15.35 per 1,000 kilowatthours, or kWhs, and its residential natural gas customers pay about $3.11 per thousand cubic feet of gas, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s energy industry and providers.

Consumers Energy’s residential electricity customers pay about $15.33 per 1,000 kilowatthours and its residential natural gas customers pay about $3.05 per thousand cubic feet of gas, the commission said.

The average home uses about 897 kilowatthours of electricity per month. It uses about 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas for heating space, water and cooking in four days.