News Story

CEOs of Michigan’s Big Energy Monopolies Get Millions, Customers Get Rate Hikes

DTE’s head collected $12.5 million while company lobbied for friendly rewrite of state regulations

In 2016, DTE Energy CEO Gerard Anderson collected $12.5 million in total compensation — at a time when the company imposed a $184.3 million rate increase on its customers.

That same year, DTE Energy Vice Chairman Steven E. Kurmas collected $4.5 million. The company’s president and chief operating officer, Gerardo Norcia, took in $3.9 million. Patricia Poppe, the president and CEO of Michigan’s other large utility, Consumers Energy, received $3.5 million in total compensation in 2016.

In the same year, DTE and Consumers were perhaps the lead players in a rewrite of the state law that governs how the companies are regulated. Among other things, the effort essentially adopted as Michigan law the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan mandates. The law will allow the companies to gain profits by replacing existing coal generating plants with ones powered by natural gas, and also by expanding the amount of power they get from wind turbines.

In early 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan, and the Trump administration has begun the process of rescinding it.

Over the past six years, DTE has imposed three major rate increases totaling $597.5 million on its 2.2 million customers in the state.

In a public statement, DTE Energy said its CEO compensation is justified and not included in customer rates.

“Compensation for DTE Energy senior leaders is benchmarked against other utilities and non-energy companies with similar revenues,” the statement read. “77 percent of Gerry Anderson’s 2016 total compensation was performance-based, and rewarded as a result of the company meeting its objectives, and this performance pay is generated from shareholder funds. Anderson’s tenure leading and stewarding the company over the last decade has resulted in enterprise wide improvements.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.