DTE: Clearing the air on electric choice

In Kathy Hoekstra’s Aug. 11 blog post, “A charged-up DTE misses the point: choice works,” she again demonstrates a troubling misunderstanding of the electric industry and the factors affecting it.

To reiterate, DTE Energy Trading is a wholly separate business from DTE Electric in Michigan and participates in entirely separate markets. Wholesale electricity markets exist all across the nation and allow utilities another means to manage supplies for electric customers — helping account for any electric shortfalls that may occur.

DTE Energy trading participates only in wholesale markets. DTE Energy does no business whatsoever in retail electric markets in Ohio or any other state.

However, Hoekstra’s blog is also filled with other inaccuracies about DTE and the electric market in general. Here’s what is true:

■ The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) is currently projecting Michigan’s lower peninsula will experience an electric capacity shortfall of up to 1,300 megawatts — making it the most stressed region in MISO.

■ While Michigan could import electricity from other states to meet our needs, it’s not practical, it’s not reliable and it’s not necessarily affordable. And for every megawatt we import from another state, we’re exporting the jobs that support and generate that energy.

■ Importing power long distances is not only costly and unreliable, it leaves Michigan dependent on the “power leftovers” from other states.

■ In the next 15 years, Michigan will retire about 60 percent of its coal generating capacity, due to the Clean Power Plan, other environmental regulations and the age of our plants. This emphasizes the need for a Michigan-first energy policy that ensures every customer is accounted for.

■ Currently, no one is planning for the customers of retail energy marketers that account for 10 percent of Michigan’s energy consumption. That lack of planning puts reliability and affordability at risk for all customers.

DTE remains dedicated to providing affordable, reliable and clean energy for all Michiganians. In order to achieve this, Michigan needs a comprehensive energy policy that will ensure Michigan’s energy future is decided here, serviced by Michigan companies and creates Michigan jobs.

Steve Kurmas, president and chief operating officer, DTE Electric