Today’s post highlights DTE’s Energy Efficiency Assistance Program for winning the 2021 Inspiring Efficiency Impact Award. Adaptability is key in the implementation of energy efficiency programs and DTE’s Energy Efficiency Assistance Program is a prime example of that. With their quick changes in response to the global pandemic and constant stakeholder engagement to ensure they are meeting the needs of their community, they truly go above and beyond. Through collaborative partnerships and market knowledge, they are able to stay ahead of the curve and fill a gap for Michigan customers. Read on to hear the details behind their hard work.
Q: What were the goals of your program and what contributed to your impressive results?
Our primary goal is to support customers in need with energy efficient products and services through our nonprofit community partner network. We continue to refine our offerings and adjust based on market conditions and the latest technology. For example, during 2020, the supply chain for Energy Star refrigerators was extremely tight, so we increased our incentive levels to provide access to additional models. We also added Energy Star air purifiers to assist customers concerned with COVID-19 transmission. Understanding our customers’ needs helped us support them in an impactful, meaningful way.
Q: What needs did you see in your community that motivated you to start your program?
Unfortunately, not all customers can take advantage of our market rate rebate offerings to make their homes more energy efficient. We started the DTE Energy Efficiency Assistance (EEA) program to provide access to customers who are looking to make their home more energy efficient, but don’t have the resources. This program really hits on equity and providing equal access.
Q: How did your program impact the community?
We view our program as a beacon of hope for those in need. We talk to customers who need assistance. They want to provide a safe and comfortable home for their family, that’s also more energy efficient and helps lower their bills. Our hope is that this program contributes to that home and provides a lift to families. We all need help at some point and need to lean on our community and lift one another up.
Q: Partnerships were an essential aspect of your program; how did you foster these relationships and what did you learn from them?
Partnerships are huge, not just with our network of 30+ nonprofit and community action agencies that directly deliver the program, but also the collaborations with outside organizations. For example, we’re currently collaborating with Humble Design to provide furniture and interior design services to families who were previously homeless. The transformative impact this can have on household is truly life changing. The more we can stack resources the greater impact we can have on each home we service.
Q: Are there any new plans in the works to continue your engagement with low-income utility customers?
Absolutely! We’re going to continue providing services to customers in need through our EEA program and will continue to identify partnerships to maximize our impact. One direction we’re especially excited about is collaborating directly with our Revenue Management and Protection (RM&P) group to provide Energy Efficiency services to customers on rate assistance plans. We’re also hopeful that the Health and Safety pilot, which enables us to address home repairs that would typically prevent the delivery of the EEA program, will continue through 2023.
DTE is passionate and committed to ensuring all their community members have access to energy efficiency programs and products and the benefits that come along with those. Do you know of a program or organization that stands out in their commitment to energy efficiency? Consider nominating them for the 2022 Inspiring Efficiency Awards. The application period closes Friday, September 17, 2021 - find the forms here and apply today!