Electric Choice

Customers Have a Choice with Their Electric Service

Get in the know about the laws and regulations that govern the DTE Electric Choice Program.

Electric Choice is a statewide initiative giving all customers the option to choose the company that supplies their electricity. Electric Choice, or restructuring, separates electric service into its three basic components: generation, transmission and distribution.

Regardless of whom supplies your electricity, DTE Electric will continue to provide the distribution and metering services required to deliver power to your home or business.

Legislation and Orders

Michigan Electric Restructuring

On June 5, 2000, Michigan Electric Restructuring legislation, Public Act 141, was enacted. Highlights included:
 
  • Opportunity for all customers to shop for an Alternative Electric Supplier beginning January 1, 2002
  • Consumer protections in the form of anti-slamming and anti-cramming provisions with penalties for infractions
  • Upgrades in the electrical transmission system to allow more power to be imported into Michigan

Refer to the MPSC Order in Case Nos. U-11290 et al for further details regarding Michigan Electric Restructuring implementation.
 

Return to Full Service

On November 23, 2004, the Michigan Public Service Commission issued a final order in Case No. U-13808 addressing Return to Full Service; further clarification was provided on on June 30, 2005 in an order on rehearing Highlights included:
 
  • Utilities require reasonable notice for Electric Choice customers returning to Full Service to plan for the needs of its customers during the summer peak demand season (June through September)
  • Customers returning to DTE Electric Full Service must remain on Full Service for one year
 

Electric Choice 10 Percent Cap

On October 6, 2008, the Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act, part of Public Act 286, was enacted. Highlights included:
 
  • No more than 10 percent of an electric utility's average weather-adjusted retail sales for the preceding calendar year may take retail access service from an Alternative Electric Supplier at any time.
  • The Michigan Public Service Commission will establish procedures to administer and allocate the amount of retail open access load allowed to be served by Alternative Electric Suppliers.
  • Allocation will be through the use of annual energy allotments awarded on a calendar year basis.
  • Customers in a retail open access program since April 1, 2008 are allowed to expand load at that facility as well as any new facility constructed or acquired (>50 percent ownership).

On September 29, 2009, the MPSC Order in Case Nos. U-15801 et al established procedures to implement Public Act 286.
 
  • Each utility must determine and file an initial Cap by January 1 of each year; final Cap by February 1
  • Each customer is prioritized based on one of five customer groups
  • Award and allocation of energy allotments is on a first-come first-served basis
  • Each utility will provide additional information about its retail sales in its monthly Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) reports. The Appendix to the Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) 45-Day Report provides the most recent monthly and year-to-date summaries
  • Each utility will provide a web-based Cap Tracking System (CTS) that will show the Cap level, current Electric Choice participation level, and available energy allotments

How Can I Get More Information

Visit the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) website to find a directory of licensed Alternative Electric Suppliers, MPSC's Glossary of Electric Choice Terms, and to learn more about Electric Choice in Michigan.

To learn more about the complete terms and conditions for participation in the DTE Electric Choice Program, view the Retail Access Service Rider or call DTE Electric Choice Customer Support at 888.235.3535.

Things to Consider Before Participating in Electric Choice
  • Customers have the option of buying electricity from an Alternative Electric Supplier (AES) or they may choose to remain a Full Service customer with DTE Electric.

  • DTE Electric will continue to deliver electricity, even if the customer chooses an AES. This means DTE Electric will maintain the poles and wires that deliver your electricity. DTE Electric also will provide customer services such as billing, meter reading and power restoration in the event of a storm.

  • If you choose to participate in Electric Choice, you are responsible for choosing an AES who is licensed to sell retail electric generation service in the state of Michigan. The AES you select is responsible for enrolling you into DTE Electric Choice Program. DTE Electric will verify your enrollment information (account and meter number), establish a “switch” date and provide notification of important information including AES selection, switch date and other program details.

  • Customers who elect to enroll into the DTE Electric Choice Program must remain on Electric Choice Residential Service for a minimum term of one full billing cycle.

  • Customers who elect to participate in DTE Electric Choice Program may receive two bills, depending on whether the AES chooses to have DTE Electric perform its billing services or whether the AES performs its own billing services.

  • You may return to DTE Electric Full Service rates any time before or after completing the one full billing cycle minimum term. Customers planning to return to DTE Electric Full Service should check their AES contracts for any restrictions or penalty provisions that may apply. If you choose to return to DTE Electric Full Service, you may do so by contacting DTE Electric or your selected AES.
    • Residential customers who choose to return to DTE Electric Full Service must remain on Full Service for a minimum of one year.

    • Obtain more information about the terms and conditions of returning to Full Service by reviewing Section E5, Term, Commencement of Service and Return to Full Service, in the Retail Access Service Rider.
       
  • You do not have to participate in Electric Choice or even select an AES. You can continue to buy electricity from DTE Electric as a Full Service customer and your energy rate will remain regulated by the MPSC.

 

 

Electric Choice FAQ

What is Electric Choice?
Electric Choice is a statewide initiative giving customers the option to choose the company that supplies their electricity. These companies are referred to as Alternative Electric Suppliers. Providing electricity to customers includes three separate activities: generation, transmission and distribution. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) sells power from generating plants and arranges for transmission of power over high-voltage lines for DTE Electric, Alternative Electric Suppliers and others. When you participate in Electric Choice, you are purchasing your electricity from an Alternative Electric Supplier. Regardless of who supplies your electricity, DTE Electric will continue to provide the distribution and metering services required to deliver power to your home or business.

Can I choose an Alternative Electric Supplier?
Yes. All retail DTE Electric customers, including residential customers, have the option to choose the company that supplies their electricity.

How can I sign up with an Alternative Electric Supplier?
You will need to contact an Alternative Electric Supplier (AES) of your choice directly and make arrangements to enroll in Electric Choice. Upon your approval, your new AES will submit an enrollment request to DTE Electric.

I have already been approached by an Alternative Electric Supplier. How do I know whether they are eligible to offer this service in Michigan?
Any company that wants to sell retail electricity in Michigan must be licensed by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) before they can begin to provide service. Visit the MPSC website to view a directory of licensed Alternative Electric Suppliers.

What is the Electric Choice "minimum term?"
The minimum term for Electric Choice Residential Electric Service is one full billing cycle.

What happens if I cancel after my Alternative Electric Supplier begins supplying my electricity?
There is a $5.00 switch fee to return to DTE Electric Full Service. Residential customers must remain on Full Service for a minimum term of one year.

What is "slamming?"
Slamming is the unauthorized switching of your energy supply without your permission.

How will slamming be controlled?
The DTE Electric Choice Program’s customer enrollment process incorporates a confirmation process to help reduce the likelihood of slamming. The electric restructuring legislation enacted in June 2000 made slamming illegal. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has established penalties for companies that engage in this practice. For more information, read MPSC Case Number U-12640.

Will DTE Electric release my account information to an Alternative Electric Supplier?
An Alternative Electric Supplier can request your usage history, but only if they submit a Customer Information Release Form (CIRF) to DTE Electric indicating the specific account number(s) and meter number(s). The CIRF must be signed by the person who is responsible for the DTE Electric account. DTE Electric will not accept electronic signatures to protect you against slamming.

How do I know if I am getting a good deal?
Each Alternative Electric Supplier (AES) may offer you different programs and prices, so it is best to make comparisons. The more you understand your electric usage, the better prepared you'll be to make a wise energy decision. Consider the details of each program and ask questions such as:

  • Is a written service agreement or contract required?
  • What is the contract term?
  • Are there any penalties for terminating the contract early?
  • What price is being offered?
  • What is included in the quoted price?
  • Is the price fixed or variable?
  • Who will read my meter and send my bill?
  • Will I get one bill or two?
  • Will I have to pay a fee to switch my electric supply from DTE Electric to an AES?
  • Are there any penalties if I decide to switch from one AES to another?
  • Will DTE Electric’s 10 percent cap impact my enrollment in Electric Choice?
  • If my enrollment is deferred, how will that affect my contract terms and quoted price?
  • What are DTE Electric’s Return to Full Service provisions?
What is the 10 percent cap?
DTE Electric has a 10 percent cap on customer participation in the Electric Choice program based on 10 percent of prior-year retail sales. When customer participation is above 10 percent, customer enrollments are deferred and placed in a queue until space becomes available under the cap. When space becomes available, customers are enrolled, subject to customer group, on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the 10 percent cap, refer to the Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act, part of Michigan Public Act 286 and the MPSC Order in Case Nos. U-15801 et al.

What is the current level of customer participation in the DTE Electric Choice Program?
DTE Electric publishes updates to the web-based Cap Tracking System (CTS) each business day. The CTS displays the cap and the current level of customer participation, expressed in megawatt hours (MWh) and as a percentage of weather-adjusted retail sales for the preceding calendar year. It also displays the number of enrollment orders and MWh in the queue.

How will customer billing be handled?
The Alternative Electric Supplier (AES) has the option to have DTE Electric bill on its behalf, which is referred to as complete billing or to bill its customers directly, which is referred to as separate billing. If the AES elects the complete billing option, the customer will receive one bill statement. The AES energy supply charges are separated from DTE Electric delivery charges to allow the customer to review each individual charge separately. If the AES chooses the separate billing option, the customer will receive two separate bills: one bill from the AES for energy supply charges and one bill from DTE Electric for delivery charges.

Will there be a charge to switch to an Alternative Electric Supplier?
A $5.00 fee will be charged each time a customer switches to a different energy supplier. The switch fee applies when a customer switches from DTE Electric to an Alternative Electric Supplier (AES), from one AES to another AES or from an AES back to DTE Electric.

If I choose an Alternative Electric Supplier, can I continue to use DTE Electric’s online billing and payment options?
You can continue to use online billing and payment options for your DTE Electric delivery charges as well as for charges billed by DTE Electric on behalf of your AES, if your AES elects the complete billing option.

If I choose an Alternative Electric Supplier, can I stay on BudgetWise Billing?
No, the BudgetWise Billing® program is not available to customers who elect to participate in DTE Electric Choice Program.  However, Alternative Electric Suppliers (AES) who elect the separate billing option may offer a budget plan, so be sure to ask your AES if this type of plan is available.

Who should I call if I have a power failure? Who will restore my electric service?
DTE Electric will continue to own and operate the distribution system and will continue to be responsible for trimming trees, restoring power, and maintaining overhead and underground wires. Customers should continue to report outages or other service problems by calling 800.477.4747.

What does "Return to Full Service" mean?
When customers leave Electric Choice for any reason and come back to DTE Electric bundled or regulated rates, they return to Full Service.

Where can I find the rules for Return to Full Service?
Rules regarding Return to Full Service are found in DTE Electric’s Retail Access Service Rider, Section 5., Term, Commencement of Service and Return to Full Service.

Who can I contact if I have more questions about the DTE Electric Choice Program?
If you have additional questions, please call DTE Electric Choice Customer Support at 888.235.3535.

 

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