DTE Energy customers throughout Michigan likely noticed a small increase on their monthly energy bills over the last few months – that’s because the energy company raised rates by 7 percent this year to cover infrastructure advances and other improvements the company wanted to make.
However, this may not be the only price increase for customers in the coming years. In fact, the company just applied to raise rates by another 9 percent.
This latest news highlights the importance of alternative energy options that aren’t reliant on companies like DTE. This includes residential solar panels for the home. Here’s what you should know about the latest news from DTE and your options for dealing with changing grid energy prices.
DTE Applies to Raise Rates $328M
The latest price increase request from DTE asks for an additional 9 percent increase in 2020. This amounts to $328 million in total. When the company applied for its initial price increase, it requested more than what was eventually granted by the Michigan Public Service Commission. So the company claims that this latest price increase is necessary to cover the costs the company was not able to obtain the last time around.
Michigan’s Attorney General is reportedly stepping in to get involved in the case. So there’s no guarantee that this latest request for a rate increase will be approved. But as this latest request demonstrates, it’s likely that the company will continue to make similar requests if they don’t receive what they asked for and as their own expenses evolve throughout the years.
That’s Not All – DTE Also Wants “Fixed Bill Program”
In addition to the higher rates overall, DTE is also asking to charge customers a higher fixed rate on every bill. Currently, all customers are charged a nominal amount on every bill, even if they use little to no energy throughout the month. But DTE wants to raise that amount significantly.
It’s a move that could dramatically impact solar customers and those who want to make the switch to cleaner options. However, regulators have already jumped on this proposal to protect solar customers. During the last case, the MPSC shut down DTE’s request to charge a hefty fee to solar customers who simply want to access the grid. So the state has demonstrated a willingness to protect the rights of solar customers.
How This Affects Homeowners and Solar Panels
These latest proposals highlight the importance of alternative energy options like roof solar panels. These options allow homeowners to be much less reliant on traditional energy providers like DTE, who can increase rates annually and change policies to pass their own expenses onto customers.
If you have solar panels installed, you’ll be able to dramatically decrease the amount of energy your home uses on a monthly basis, which lowers your costs overall. But it also lessens the impact of rate increases. So you’re better able to plan for your monthly utility costs and keep your budget under control.
Without solar panels, you’re left vulnerable to the whims of large energy providers that have changing expenses and initiatives your bill is meant to cover. As a customer, you don’t have much say over whether or not these price increases are approved. You simply have to adjust your budget and/or energy needs to keep up.
Why You Need to Invest in Solar Panels for Your Home
Solar panels don’t just allow you to decrease reliance on traditional energy providers like DTE, but they also can help you save money overall. Solar panel installation might seem like a significant expense to some homeowners. But there are plenty of tax credits, low interest loans, and incentive programs aimed at helping environmentally conscious homeowners cover some of that initial cost. Then, once you have the panels installed, you can dramatically reduce or even eliminate those monthly energy bills altogether. Over time, the savings you realize from the decreased reliance on grid electricity should more than pay for the initial investment.
Additionally, solar panels are significantly cleaner than traditional electricity. The sun’s rays are a completely renewable resource. And solar panels require very little resources and maintenance over the course of their lifespan, which is often for about 25 to 30 years. So there isn’t a ton of waste that goes into keeping them up and running.
In fact, having solar panels installed at your home can make you a much more self reliant homeowner. In Michigan, you can even be compensated through net metering for any extra energy that your solar panels generate on extra sunny days. This is another measure that DTE previously tried to put a stop to. But lawmakers shut it down to protect solar customers and encourage even more to invest in renewable energy sources.
If you’re interested in becoming less reliant on traditional grid electricity, The Green Panel can help. With more than a decade of experience in the solar panel industry, we offer a wide array of products and services for homeowners throughout Michigan. Our team will work directly with you to find the exact solutions that meet your home’s energy and budgetary needs. We only offer products from top solar panel manufacturers, so you can always feel confident about your solar power equipment holding up for years. We’ll help you through every step of the installation process, from discussing financing options to finding the most effective placement for panels on your property. Once you’re ready to make the jump to renewable energy for your home, contact us for a free solar evaluation. Our team will visit your property and help you determine the best solutions that fit your specific needs, so you can stop relying on traditional energy sources and save money over the long run.