DETROIT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – DTE Energy is making its business customers aware of programs that can provide financial lifelines, as well as offering guidance on reducing their energy bills during the coronavirus pandemic.

One form of assistance promoted by DTE is forgivable loans offered by the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), administered by the Small Business Administration. DTE has joined with a diverse business and community coalition in communicating how PPP loans offer critical help to businesses impacted by the pandemic. The loans are forgivable if certain criteria are met and provide small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

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“We want businesses to know that DTE cares about them at this critical time, and we want them to stay safe throughout the crisis, as well as weather the financial challenges it has brought,” said Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy. “We’ll get through this crisis together as strong partners ready to power growth and prosperity as Michigan recovers.”

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While the PPP loans will help small businesses cover some costs, DTE is encouraging customers to cut expenses further with some simple, no-cost steps for quick reductions in energy usage that can help lower energy bills. Steps include:

  • Shut off unnecessary lighting. Double-check that all unused lights are turned off and make any adjustments to timers if necessary.
  • Close unoccupied areas. By closing off rooms, floors or entire wings that are vacant or not being used, you’ll be able to reduce lighting and HVAC usage, lowering your bills even further.
  • Turn off non-critical electronics and other equipment. Make sure any non-critical electronics are turned off for now, especially computers and monitors, printers, coffee makers or warmers, radios, and internal signage or TV screens. If your business uses any commercial grade kitchen equipment, such as stoves or ovens, make sure items like burners, fryers and warmers are shut off.

More information on the program’s participating lending institutions and answers to common questions can be found here.

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