DTE Proposal Would Increase Rates for LEDs, Decrease Rates for Low-Efficiency Lamps

DTE Energy

Allison Donnelly for Zondits, February 12, 2015

A number of municipalities are crying foul after DTE Energy, the utility serving most of eastern Michigan, has proposed increasing the rates for LED streetlamps while decreasing rates for traditional, low-efficiency lamps. The move has angered some and is being hailed as a bait-and-switch tactic after DTE has helped some towns switch to LED streetlights. The proposal would increase the annual cost of running an LED streetlight 12%‒13%, depending on the wattage, decrease costs for sodium streetlights by 6%‒19%, and increase costs for mercury vapor lamps by 6%. Ypsilanti, in the metro Detroit area, recently converted all of its streetlamps to LEDs with help from DTE and will see most to all of its cost savings from the project evaporate should the rate increases be approved. The town, alongside many others in DTE’s service territory, have vowed to argue against the increases at the Michigan Public Service Commission.

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Ann Arbor responds to LED streetlight proposal: ‘The rate changes don’t make sense’

M Live, February 3, 2015

Ann Arbor officials made it clear Monday night they’re opposed to DTE Energy’s planned rate increases for energy-saving LED streetlights.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of intervening in the rate case that’s before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

DTE recently petitioned the MPSC to change the rates charged to municipalities for electricity, including street lighting, increasing the cost of operating LED streetlights while decreasing the cost of operating conventional high-pressure sodium lights.

It’s the city’s understanding that costs associated with DTE-owned LED streetlights could increase by as much as 11 percent, while the cost of conventional streetlights goes down, lessening the financial incentive for energy efficiency.

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