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AABE Annual Conference Energy Assistance Presented by David L. Johnson, Director Revenue Management and Protection May 19, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "AABE Annual Conference Energy Assistance Presented by David L. Johnson, Director Revenue Management and Protection May 19, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 AABE Annual Conference Energy Assistance Presented by David L. Johnson, Director Revenue Management and Protection May 19, 2010

2 2 Current Economic Challenges Official unemployment rate for Detroit is 25.3%, but estimates on real unemployment approach 50%! Source: Michigan Bureau of Labor and Statistics – March 2010

3 3 Current Economic Challenges Source: RealtyTrac.com – through March 2010 Michigan Foreclosure Filings Source: US Census Bureau % People Below Poverty Level 33% YTD

4 As the number of Low- Income customers increases, State and Federal funding levels decline DHS statistics show DTE may have as many as 450,000 Low-Income customers in its service territory Current Economic Challenges 198K 236K $73M $88M $119M 255K Allowing arrears to grow makes it very difficult for customers to restore service once disconnected 280K $112M 356K* 425K* 450K* *Estimated based on DHS Statistics PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL 4

5 Mortgage Car Payment Credit Cards Cable/Direct TV 5 Customer Payment Hierarchy Cell Phones Utilities!!

6 6 Evidence of Customers in Need is Apparent Everywhere

7 7 Customers in Need Eligible for energy assistance up to 200% FPL Eligible for payment plans with special down-payment features Low-income rates available Most programs were designed to assist low-income customers Low-Income in Arrears Not eligible for assistance Payment plans available but without special rates Energy efficiency programs available but at a cost Non Low-Income in Arrears May or may not be in arrears Sometimes pay late but always pay before disconnect notice is sent Existing payment plans of little help Primary concern is high rates and difficulty paying bills Developing new programs to better assist this customer in reducing his/her bill Slow Payers (Working Poor)

8 8 DTE Energy Community Assistance State Government Partnerships Non-Profit Assistance Agency Partnerships Faith-Based Partnerships Community Energy Forums Customer Assistance Day Community Organization Relationships Need Help? DTE Energy Assistance to Customers in Need

9 Partnering with four local churches to provide on-site low-income energy assistance via experienced DTE Case Management staff Increase to full staffing in CES Churches Expanded hours for greater customer convenience Add a church on the West Side of the state – Grand Rapids or Muskegon Expanding CES-like services into the Detroit Recovery Project Education and communications with Faith-Based and Community leaders – Host an Energy Assistance Resource Conference – Implement a quarterly Energy Assistance Newsletter – Partner with leaders to streamline energy assistance messages thru existing channels: church events, bulletins, etc. 9 Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Community Energy Solutions (CES) Detroit Second Ebenezer Church Pastor Dr. Edgar Vann Fellowship Chapel Rev. Wendell Anthony III New Galilee Baptist Church Rev. Horace Sheffield St. Cecilias Catholic Church Fr. Theodore Parker

10 10 Customer Forums and Customer Assistance Day Event Holding 35 Customer Forums in 2010 vs. 14 in 2009 Provide on-site assistance to low-income customers Assist customers filing HHCs and SER Customer Assistance Day 2009 event provided over $500,000 in support to over 10,000 customers Assembled over 25 Community Agencies Hosting two Customer Assistance Day events in 2010 PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL

11 11 Arrears Collection Process Posting Day 5-10 Days Prior to Disconnect Disconnect Day Legal – Notify appropriate entities of disconnect; coordinate last minute actions necessary UW211/DHS – Provide on-site support to tenants Corp Comm – Additional media support if needed Regional Relations – Notify appropriate legislative entities ECAC – Response Team Southwest Solutions – Provide housing solutions Corp. Comm. – Prepare media announcement Legal – Insure proper noticing; inform City of posting Notify of Pending Disconnect: Legal Corp Communications Regional Relations Customer Service Agencies Legal Aide Southwest Solutions Visual documentation of posting Sept. 11, 2009 Move Tenants Out Apartment in Landlord name Tenants pay utility as part of rent Tenants primarily seniors and low-income Move Tenants Out Apartment Disconnect Communication Plan

12 12 Need Help?

13 13 Looking Ahead… For Internal DTE Energy Use Only Developing new incentive-based payment plans tied to energy reduction to help customers reduce their utility burden – especially Slow Payers Establishing a Case Management One-Stop-Shop to help low-income customers all the way through the energy assistance process Working with state agencies to streamline access to assistance funding for customers Modifying collection strategy based on more refined customer behavior segmentation Enhancing customer office facilities and processes to reduce customer wait times and improve their overall experience Partnered with social agencies to apply to participate in Low-Income Rate Pilot sponsored by the Michigan Public Service Commission

14 14 What More Can We Do? For Internal DTE Energy Use Only While existing programs have proven successful, much more can be done to support the communities we serve We must be even more attentive to our customers needs during these difficult economic times We need to be more resourceful and innovative in developing new assistance programs Energy AssistanceArrears 2008 YE $74M$503M 2009 YE $119M$436M 2010 Target $112M $389M


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