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DTE Energy to Lay Groundwork for SmartCurrents Program

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DTE Energy last week announced plans to install an additional 100,000 electric meters that will provide the backbone for its SmartCurrents program, which will allow electric customers to communicate with the company, provide detailed information about their energy usage and recognize power outages without customer input.

The meters incorporate technology that will allow them to be read remotely and provide a wide range of benefits to customers, as well as operational savings through increased efficiencies to DTE Energy.

The meter technology will serve as a platform that will lead to the elimination of manual meter reading, provide remote monitoring of the electric distribution system and allow customers to better manage their energy usage and bills.

The new “smart” meters will be installed in Bloomfield, Commerce, Milford, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Waterford and White Lake townships, as well as Auburn Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Milford, Ortonville and Pontiac. Installation will be completed by the end of the year.

In total, 150,000 meters will be installed by the end of 2010, including those already installed in Grosse Ile, Harsen’s Island and a portion of Bloomfield Township where pilot programs started the initiative.

The project is being funded, in part, through an $84 million U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant, which is a nationwide effort to improve the nation’s electrical grid. The grant, matched by DTE Energy, will enable the company to accelerate its deployment of Smart Grid technology and install 600,000 smart meters by the end of 2011.

As part of the SmartCurrents program, a new electrical circuit is being constructed for the Alpine substation, on Quarton Road in Bloomfield Township. Overhead power lines also will be replaced in an area north of Lone Pine between Lahser and Telegraph roads. The voltage of those power lines will be converted from 4,800 to 13,200, which will allow Detroit Edison to feed power to the area from other circuits and substations in the event of a power outage, and reduce the duration of any power outages.

Other electrical equipment will be installed to allow Detroit Edison to remotely monitor the electrical system. Customers will benefit because the company will know, to an individual meter, the extent of a power outage and how best to respond to that outage.

Electric fault detection and other equipment will be installed at the Long Lake and Lily substations, as well as at nine other substations in 2011 and 2012.

Detroit Edison also is seeking community approvals to install new wireless communication poles on Detroit Edison property in Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and Troy. The communication poles will enable DTE Energy to transmit data from substations to the downtown Detroit System Operations Center. The communication will enable the System Operations Center to remotely monitor and control devices on the circuit to more efficiently operate the electrical system. The work also enables two-way communication with the new meters.

The SmartCurrents program will incorporate new technologies and products, besides advanced metering technology, such as “smart” appliances, thermostats and control units so customers can monitor their energy usage. New customers pricing product and a web portal for energy analysis also will be introduced.

As a result of the DOE funding, DTE Energy will have the opportunity to offer technology with in-home displays and high tech thermostats to 5,000 customers. Customers interested in signing up to receive program updates and information can go to smartcurrents.com.

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at www.dteenergy.com and at www.twitter.com/dte_energy.

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