The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Profits over Customers

Mar 28, 2022

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, DTE Energy has cut power to its customers 260,000 times for nonpayment, according to a report from Detroit’s Outlier Media and ProPublica. The 178,200 disconnections for 2021 is the highest number since 2016 and DTE’s rate is higher than that of the six other utilities in the state.

Cutoffs like these force those with limited incomes to make choices between keeping their heat and lights on or paying for food or doctor visits, all while a pandemic rages on.

DTE uses the excuse that it must carry out these disgusting practices to avoid raising rates on its paying customers. Yet the company has already raised its rates during this period and is currently seeking another increase for later this year. The company had no trouble handing out 539 million dollars to its stockholders in 2020, which was 76% more than they received in 2010. It also found 9.7 million dollars in total compensation for its CEO, Jerry Norcia, for his first full year on the job.

Under capitalism, putting profits into the hands of top executives and wealthy stockholders comes before the well-being of the population. It needs to go.