Monday, July 3, 2017

Open Letter to Citizen Gas Fuel Company and DTE: Missing energy rebates and incentives

Adrian, June 29, 2017

To whom it may concern,

I contacted Citizen Gas Fuel Company several times with my below inquiry and did not receive any responses as of today. Therefore, I am reaching out to DTE, who, as the owner of CGFC should take responsibility to provide the same standards to CGFC customers as to direct DTE customers, and should be interested in keeping DTE's reputation as a modern energy supplier.

Due to the fact that I currently receive my gas from CGFC, I lost more than $300 worth of energy rebates after fully retrofitting and insulating my 1900 craftsmen bungalow in Adrian. I am considering to pay substantially more and buy my gas through Consumer Energy (DTE is not available in Adrian, MI) just to avoid being a customer of such a backwards company, who surely does not live up to the standards as your own DTE enterprise.

Thank you in advance!

Tom Wassmer
Thomas Wassmer, Ph.D.

Before this letter, I tried to contact Citizen Gas Fuel Company several times without ever getting a reply. My last attempt was on June 24, 2017:

From: Thomas Wassmer
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017 1:02 PM
Subject: Missing Energy Rebate Program

To whom it may concern,

Especially in the light of your company's motion to be recognized as a model corporate citizen, the lack of energy rebates and incentives for energy saving investments is puzzling. I hope somebody will get back to me to discuss this issue.

Sincerely, Tom Wassmer

On June 30, 2017, I received an answer by Robyn Wilson <>
 on behalf of DTEENERGYCARES Account <>

Dear Thomas Wassmer,

Citizens Gas Fuel Company does not offer energy efficiency programs. The reason they do not offer rebates is because their rates are set by the local government (i.e. their rate books are not approved by the MPSC). Since PA 342 defines a Natural gas provider as “an investor-owned business engaged in the sale and distribution at retail of natural gas within this state whose rates are regulated by the commission”, they are not mandated to implement an energy efficiency program.

Additionally, it would be inappropriate for DTE to provide compensation to address the inability to receive rebates as Citizens Gas is a separate company and the energy efficiency rebates we provide are funded by the Energy Optimization surcharge we collect from DTE Energy customers.

Thank you for reaching out to DTE Energy.


DTE Energy Social

This is very technical and not really satisfactory. Why is CGFC  allowed to operate outside the MPSC (MI Public Service Commission) and avoid offering common sense incentives and rebates to educate people to do the right thing? And how can such a company be named a "clean corporate citizen" as in the Daily Telegram, Sep 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM?
However, DTE's answer shows two more shortcomings of our Public Services / Utilities sector, and general corporate practices. First, DTE and Consumers Energy, who provide rebates and incentives are not using their substantial profits to give back to customer's investing in efficiency upgrades but finance those through fees charged to every customer on top of other fees. If public services and utilities companies want to claim benefits and special treatment from governmental bodies for serving the public interest, they should also be specifically engaged in promoting the common good such as reducing our carbon footprint - and finance these engagements directly through their profits!
Secondly, the general business strategy of compartmentalization to separate legal responsibilities and limit liability also allows mother corporations like DTE to avoid taking over responsibility for the common good when they acquire ownership of subsidiaries like CGFC.

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