Last year started off normal but things quickly spiraled when a global pandemic completely shifted the way we live, work and learn. Despite these unprecedented times, more than 10,000 DTE Energy employees rolled-up their sleeves, practiced social distancing and put on masks to serve the community with their energy.
Take a look back at how DTE Energy teamed up with the community to power through a challenging year.
PROVIDED ASSISTANCE FOR COMMUNITIES DURING UNCERTAINITIES
FINANCIAL SUPPORT DURING COVID-19
- At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we recognized the financial strain our customers may face. We created a Personalized Service Protection Program to create custom payment plans as well as helped customers apply for $77 million in state and federal funding. DTE also aided more than 20,000 households and reduced their energy burden by more than $13 million. In addition, the company supported more than 2,000 customers via our one-time balance reduction initiative with almost $600K in donations, and provided nearly $40 million in summer bill relief for our electric customers.
KEEPING COMMUNITIES ENERGIZED
- While 2020 brought challenges we couldn’t imagine, it also delivered new opportunities to find unique ways to serve our customers and communities. The DTE Foundation awarded more than $22 million in COVID-19 relief funding to nonprofits and communities statewide. These critical funds helped more than 500,000 families with basic needs, provided more than 3,000 meals and delivered over 2 million KN95masks to first responders. Learn more about DTE’s COVID-19 efforts at com/covidcommunity.
- The DTE Foundation also awarded $1 million in grants to all 45 domestic violence shelters funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to help alleviate the significant financial and operational stress the shelter system has sustained due to COVID-19.
- The DTE Foundation distributed 6,000 personal protection equipment kits to businesses across Michigan to help keep employees and customers safe as they reopen.
SUPPORTING THE LOCAL ECONOMY
- The Blue Water Energy Center is a new 1,150MW natural gas combined-cycle power plant currently under construction in East China Township for DTE Electric. The project, which is currently 70% complete, employs more than 700 union craft personnel – the vast majority from Michigan – and has contributed $215 million in Michigan Spend to-date. When the plant comes online in Spring 2022, it will help DTE significantly reduce emissions while providing reliable and affordable electric service, as we transition from coal to renewables.
DEPENDABLE ENERGY TO LIVE, WORK AND LEARN
- Electric customers experienced improved power reliability on average by 25% from 2019 to 2020, including the lowest number of outages compared to similar weather years.
RECORD RESTORATION AFTER SEVERE STORMS
- Southeast Michigan was hit with more than a dozen storms in 2020 – four of those were considered volatile with winds reaching over 50 mph. The storms caused damage to the electric infrastructure and knocked out power to several communities. More than 1,000 DTE employees and contractors worked around the clock for each storm to quickly string miles of wire, replacing 900 damaged poles and restoring power to more than 980,000 customers impacted by the severe weather in record time.
ENSURING MINIMAL INTERRUPTIONS
- Completed phase one of our Northern Michigan Reinvestment Project. This $1M project helps ensure minimal customer disruptions during routine pipeline maintenance or in the unlikely event of an emergency for 91,000 DTE Gas customers in Northern Michigan. It also provides an estimated $1.4 million in annual tax revenue to support local communities.
PROVIDING CLEAN AND EFFICIENT ENERGY
COMMITTED TO NET ZERO EMISSIONS
- In July DTE Gas announced its plans to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions through an innovative plan that includes both its suppliers and customers. By 2050, the DTE Gas Net Zero Plan will reduce carbon emissions by 6 million metric tons per year ― the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
CONNECTING TO THE GRID
- DTE’s MIGreenPower program subscribers supported more than 45 million KWH of clean energy generation, which has the environmental benefit equivalent to taking nearly 7,000 cars off the road for a year. Program participation topped 22,000 residential and small business customers, more than doubling in size.
- DTE brought Michigan’s largest wind park online. With 68 turbines generating 168MW, Polaris generates enough clean energy to power 64,000 homes.
OFFERING VIRTUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP
- With more than 100 Michigan schools starting classes online this year, DTE created a virtual field trip to help students learn more about the urgent need to address climate change and the role renewable energy plays in reducing carbon emissions. The 27-minute video takes students to Michigan’s largest wind and solar parks to help them learn about how these clean energy technologies are built and how they generate energy as well as the many career opportunities available in the energy industry.
- For five years, DTE has partnered with the Engineering Society of Detroit to provide youth engagement programming for their annual Girls in Engineering Academy summer camp. DTE expanded our support by offering over six hours of virtual, immersive learning sessions, where DTE engineers provided career awareness and inspiration to the highly engaged camp participants.
- DTE provides employment opportunities to high school and college students across Michigan through a summer internship program on site at our Detroit headquarters. In 2020, we pivoted to a virtual internship program, keeping our commitment to providing meaningful employment experiences to young people.