Your Voice: DTE Energy Expands Its Official Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan
DTE Energy is offering customers a new application-free payment plan designed to help low income families budget for their energy payments.
The Low Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP) allows customers to make affordable fixed monthly payments based on income. In addition, outstanding arrears are frozen at the time of enrollment and will be reduced if the customer makes regular payments.
Eligible customers will receive enrollment information from DTE Energy via phone and postcards.
To check their eligibility, customers can call 800-708-6021 or visit DTE’s website www.dteenergy.com/lsp.
The new program is open to families at 150% or less of the federal poverty level with an average power consumption, said Amy Walt, DTE’s director of revenue management and protection. Average utility consumption is $3,500 a year, Walt said.
A family of four with an income less than $23,550 is considered living under the federal poverty level.
For those who enroll, the program allows them to pay $85 to $110 a month toward their current utility usage. It also freezes any past debt at its current rate. If the consumer continues to keep current on his or her new, more manageable bills, the debt is reduced until — after four years — it’s eliminated, Walt said.
Walt and Thompson said many Detroit families have a tough time making payments on all of their bills, even though they want to do so.
Maureen Taylor, chairwoman of the Detroit-based Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, said the program may bring an end to what she described as “death battles” between poverty advocates and DTE — giving families the ability to keep up with their bills and giving the company a more predictable stream of income.
“It’s a win-win for their side,” Taylor said of DTE, “and certainly a win-win for us.”
For more information, call DTE at 800-708-6021.
The past debt will be covered by two funds: emergency dollars that were previously set aside for families facing shutoff and a state-approved 99-cent surcharge added to most electric bills starting in September.
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization is planning two information sessions Friday. For details and to register, call 313-703-5940. freep.com
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