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Did you know as a customer, you have  rights that DTE must respect?

Attend our rate payer clinics or use our toolkit below to learn more. 

Know Your RightsToolkit

Below you'll find information and linked, downloadable one-pagers that address consumer issues related to

The problems you're facing are often the result of utilities not respecting your rights.

 

This toolkit will not only educate you on your consumer rights but outline ways  you can take direct action against these situations.

For more information or questions please contact attorney, Liz Jacob by email at ljacob@sugarlaw.org or by phone at (313) 993-4505. 

 

And be sure to sign up for upcoming trainings, where we'll go into these materials in-depth!

 

These materials and clinics were written and created in partnership with Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice. 

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What if I fall behind on my bills?

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If you start to fall behind on your bills, one of the most important rights you have is the ability to negotiate a payment plan with DTE that meets your unique needs. Below, please find an overview of your consumer rights as you fall behind on your DTE bills, as well as, the steps you can take to apply for energy affordability assistance programs and set up a payment plan that meets your needs with DTE. 

1. You have a right to receive information from DTE about energy assistance and shut-off protection programs 

2. You have the right to negotiate how you pay the balance you owe to DTE and enroll in a payment plan from DTE to avoid a shut-off. 

3. You have a right to enroll in an equal monthly billing program and have a set DTE bill each month. 

Download the pdf for more information and ways to take action.

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What if DTE wrongfully billed me?

DTE sometimes wrongly charges customers for the gas and electric services that you use. Below, please find an overview of your consumer rights if you are incorrectly charged by DTE, as well as, the steps you can take to resolve a billing issue and receive a refund for the amount that you were wrongfully charged by DTE. 

1. If DTE overcharges you, you are entitled to a refund or credit of the amount that you were wrongfully billed.

2. You have the right to view records of your actual energy use data from the last 12 months.

3. You have the right to read your energy meter and report your. actual energy use to DTE. 

Download the PDF for more information and ways to take action. 

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What if I received a shut-off notice?

While DTE does have the right to shut-off your gas and/or electric service if you fall behind on your bill, you do still have customer rights that must be respected. DTE is a publicly regulated utility, so under Michigan law, you have legal rights and protections that you are entitled to as a utility customer. 

1. You have a right to receive notice from DTE before your power is shut-off.

2. You have 10 days to respond to a shut-off notice from DTE before your power is shut-off. 

3. You have a right to pay any outstanding amount you owe to DTE before your shut-off date and preserve uninterrupted service at your home. 

Download the PDF for more information and ways to take action.

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What if DTE caused property loss and damage to my home?

If DTE caused any property loss or damage to your home or belongings, you may be entitled to compensation. Below, please find an overview of your consumer rights in the event that DTE damages your house or property. 

1. You have a right to not have your home or property destroyed or damaged by DTE. 

2.  You have a right to compensation if DTE destroys or damages your property.

3. You have a right to ask any DTE representative for picture identifcation confirming they work for DTE.

Download the pdf for more information and ways to take action. 

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What if I suffer from power outages

A power outage is a full or partial loss of gas and/or energy service for more than five minutes. If you experience a power outage – subject to the conditions outlined below – DTE must provide you with a bill credit. A bill credit will be posted to your account within 1-2 billing cycles or up to 90 days following your outage.

1. You have a right to receive a $38 credit from DTE if you experience a power outage in your home [subject to certain restrictions]. 

2. You have a right to have access to qualified personnel from DTE who are available at all times to respond to shut-off and outage issues. 

3. You have a right to receive prompt and effective assistance from DTE, even if you are not able to communicate in English. 

Download the pdf for more information and ways to take action. 

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What if a creditor sent me a debt collection message? 

1. You have a right not to receive more than 1 call per day from date or a third party paid by DTE if you did not make your full payment to DTE by its due date. 

2. You have a right not to be charged a late fee that is more than 2% of the total amount of your unpaid bill. 

3. You have a right to an attorney or to represent yourself in a debt action against you. 

 

Download the pdf for more information and ways to take action. 

Rate Payer, Know Your Rights Clinics

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These clinics will help equip underserved communities with knowledge of their rights as consumers and opportunities to interface one-on-one with legal counsel in regards to their individual cases. Check our calendar for details on registration and legal advocate trainings. 

 

Register for our April clinic! 
 

Train with us and become a clinic advocate!
 

Work directly with community members looking for more assistance with their DTE cases. 

 

You will have the the opportunity to train with Sugar Law attorney, Liz Jacob, and MEJC organizer, Gabriela Alcazar, to learn about DTE's negligence as a utility monopoly and how best to guide and inform individuals about their customer rights. 

If you're interested register and attend our upcoming clinic.

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