CEO Message

CEO Message

Moving Forward: DTE Energy and our Communities

In the past year, significant strides have been made in mapping out a new direction for our country’s energy generation to limit greenhouse gas emissions and move to cleaner, greener technologies. We at DTE Energy played a significant role in developing the federal clean energy rule, known as the Clean Power Plan. This rule would yield significant environmental progress and, I believe, does that in a way that is workable for our industry and its customers. It’s a great change for our nation and will allow us to continue providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy.

Despite the debate about the new rule in the federal courts, we at DTE are moving forward with fundamentally modernizing the way we generate electricity. We will also continue our focus on investing in energy efficiency. We plan to retire older, less efficient coal plants and build new, cleaner natural gas power plants over the next decade. Simultaneously, we will continue our investment in renewable energy – and in fact, we now are constructing one of the largest utility-owned solar power plants east of the Mississippi. Our Aspiration to be the best-operated energy company in North America and a force for growth and prosperity in the communities where we live and serve will be our guide as we invest in this transformation, and we will work to build a better future for Michigan and the communities in which we operate across the country.

On our journey toward our Aspiration, we accomplished a significant amount of work in 2015, all of which was the product of the energy our employees bring to work each day. Employee engagement is at the heart of our Aspiration – and that starts with our absolute commitment to safety. I am happy to report that in 2015, we had the lowest rate of injuries in DTE’s history – surpassing our goal – and we scored in the top three percent of companies nationwide in the National Safety Council barometer survey. Our employee engagement surveys placed us in the top 15 percent of companies worldwide, and we earned our fourth consecutive Gallup Great Workplace award this year.

While our customer service always has room for improvement, we are making progress in improving customer satisfaction – the result of an intense, company-wide focus on what matters most to our customers across Michigan. We have made strides in our electric reliability; most notably, our outage minutes were down 65 percent in 2015, due in large part to a more strategic tree trimming program. But the fact is, we must modernize our energy grid so that we can provide even more reliable energy to our customers – and we know we must balance this with keeping our customers’ bills down. To help do this, we work hard to continuously improve our own operations to control costs; we also provide tools to help our customers save energy.

In the past year, we spent a lot of time framing our strategy around what it means to be “a force for growth and prosperity in our communities.” As a result, we are implementing a much more robust employee volunteerism initiative, with the intention of creating a best-in-class program to engage more employees in more impactful opportunities, such as skill-based volunteerism. We also are continuing to strengthen our charitable contributions. The DTE Energy Foundation, our philanthropic arm, donated $15 million in 2015, a 20 percent increase over 2014. The company and our employees also gave more than $3 million to the United Way and The Heat and Warmth Fund.

Economic development is one of the keys to our state’s future, and I am proud of our ongoing commitment to do business with Michigan-based and diverse suppliers. We surpassed our goal in 2015 to bring more business back to the Michigan communities, spending close to $1 billion throughout the year. Since we helped launch the Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative with Michigan suppliers in 2011, our spending has created 8,500 jobs, and last June, we made a new commitment to invest $5 billion with Michigan companies over the next five years.

Investing in Michigan’s future also means investing in our own future –and how we will become a next-generation energy company. As we build a bridge to a clean energy future, we recognize the impact this transformation will have on our cities and towns and our employees. We are working closely with local leaders every step of the way in communities where we will retire our coal plants and build new generation. We also understand that demographics and the change in our business will drive very significant changes in our workforce. We are committed to managing this in a responsible and sustainable manner, and we are planning now so that the transition will be positive and seamless for our employees. We also are partnering with public schools, community colleges and universities to support efforts to train the workforce of the future. As the job market evolves, and demand within the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields grows, we want to ensure our young people are equipped with the tools they need to be competitive applicants in a global workplace, and strong contributors to our state’s economy.

This is an exciting time for our business and our employees, and I am proud to lead them. On behalf of the men and women of DTE Energy, I invite you to read our Corporate Citizenship Report and share your feedback at

Gerry Anderson
Chairman and CEO,
DTE Energy