Environmental, advocacy groups hail Michigan PSC decision sending DTE back to the drawing board

A community activist for environmental justice, Nyasia Valadez is one of DTE Energy’s many customers who spoke out with the Work For Me DTE Campaign for a just energy plan for Michigan.
A community activist for environmental justice, Nyasia Valadez is one of DTE Energy’s many customers who spoke out with the Work For Me DTE Campaign for a just energy plan for Michigan.

Michigan PSC decision an important first step for ratepayers, reducing dangerous pollution and promoting clean energy

Lansing – Environmental and community advocates today called on the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to continue holding DTE Energy accountable for its flawed 15-year energy plan.

The MPSC sent DTE back to the drawing board and recommended changes to DTE’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) following an administrative law judge’s review of the plan, which found a number of legal shortcomings and omissions. More than 9,000 public comments have been submitted to the MPSC, many of which urged the commission to reject DTE’s IRP. Community advocates also released a report card last year, giving DTE’s IRP a failing grade.

Pictured: A community activist for environmental justice, Nyasia Valadez is one of DTE Energy’s many customers who spoke out with the Work For Me DTE Campaign for a just energy plan for Michigan.

WATCH: Nyasia joined DTE customers and community members to demand: Work For Me, DTE! Power up Michigan with clean energy, and put the people first.

Local and national justice, climate and community advocates provided the following statements:

“The Commission appropriately recognized that DTE’s plan needs improvement, and the onus is now on the company to address its flawed proposal,” said James Gignac, Lead Midwest Energy Analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Michigan’s long-term energy planning process requires evaluation of all resource options to benefit customers and communities, not just a reflection of what utility companies are already planning to do. We hope the MPSC’s recommendations will spur DTE to revise its plan and appropriately value clean energy alternatives instead of its own existing power plants.”

“Instead of protecting clean water, clean air and our communities, DTE chose to double down on expensive, polluting fossil fuels burned at River Rouge and Belle River,” said Theresa Landrum, a Detroit resident and activist with Sierra Club. “Thousands of Sierra Club members submitted comments urging the MPSC to reject DTE’s plan and protect those living in the most heavily burdened communities from pollution and overpriced energy bills. We applaud the MPSC for holding DTE accountable. We call on DTE to come back with a plan that prioritizes renewable energy sources, efficiency programs and storage technology instead of fracked gas and dirty coal.”

“DTE failed to develop a plan that would protect consumers, public health and the environment, and the Commission recognized that,” saidAlexis Blizman, policy director of the Ecology Center. “While the Commission order did not explicitly reject the plan, we are happy the commission ordered DTE to make significant and substantive changes that will create a faster transition to renewable energy, increase investment in energy efficiency, and protect the health and economic interests of Michiganders.We hope DTE will now take heed and address the concerns of the Commission and the community.”

“The commission recognized DTE’s plan needs improvement,” said Margrethe Kearney, Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Grand Rapids. “What remains to be seen is whether DTE will make meaningful changes to ensure its customers receive the economic, health and environmental benefits that clean, renewable energy has to offer.”

“The Public Service Commission put the ball back in DTE’s court,” said Will Kenworthy, Midwest Regulatory Director at Vote Solar. “The commissioners, having heard from nearly 10,000 Michiganders, accurately recognized the importance of this moment and have shown DTE the path to a 15-year plan that reflects the true value of clean energy, like solar. That value — for our health, for our climate and for our electric bills — will soon be readily apparent thanks to a Request for Proposals required by the commission. Recent experience in the Midwest has shown that when you ask the right question, the answer is increasingly that it is cheaper to replace fossil generation with new clean energy resources.”

“Fed up with sky-high energy costs and pollution, thousands of Michiganders made their voices heard and urged the MPSC to send DTE back to the drawing board,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “We are encouraged the MPSC recognized Michiganders are struggling with the impacts of dangerous pollution, dirty air and climate change by telling DTE their plan was not good enough. Today’s decision again emphasizes that DTE’s long-term plan for our state cannot be built on dirty, expensive fossil fuels.”

“In the absence of an outright rejection, we’re pleased to see the MPSC is recommending modifications to DTE’s deeply flawed IRP,” said Kindra Weid, RN, and coalition coordinator of MI Air MI Health. “We are hopeful DTE’s revised plan will include robust consideration of clean and renewable energy, which will combat climate change and improve air quality in Michigan. A focus on a cleaner, more affordable and reliable energy future will have direct public health impacts for Michiganders. We thank our commissioners for forcing DTE to do better.”

“The Commission’s recommendations highlight that the next decade will be the most important for climate action,” said Ariana Gonzalez, Senior Energy Policy Analyst for Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is an important first step in holding utilities accountable and pushing them to be a part of a cleaner, healthier Michigan.”

“The PSC should have completely rejected this flawed, dangerous and irresponsible plan instead of coddling big utility companies at the expense of ratepayers and the health of Michigan residents,” said Jackson Koeppel, executive director at Soulardarity. “The PSC needs to do more to hold these big polluters accountable for their stubborn refusal to embrace clean energy and improve the health of Michiganders.”

“SEIA is pleased to see Michigan’s PSC concluded that DTE Energy’s proposed plan would put the state on the wrong path,” said Nakhia Morrissette, central region director and counsel at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “By requiring DTE to submit a more efficient, equitable energy plan, including support for solar and storage capabilities, the PSC is supporting Michiganders and working to give them a better energy future.”

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