Lawrence Porter and Nancy Hanover of WSWS report DTE Energy turns out the lights on Highland Park, Michigan neighborhood.
DTE pulled the plug on the city as a result of an unpaid $4 million bill. The arrearage was the cumulative result of 5-10 years of only partial payments on electricity fees. The utility giant did not just temporarily disable connections, however. It hired contractors to literally remove 1,400 light poles.
Highland Park’s neighborhoods have now been plunged into pitch-blackness, affecting thousands of children walking to school, senior citizens trying to get to the grocery stores, and entire neighborhoods. The stripping of the city lights takes place just before “Devils Night,” Halloween eve, when thousands of fires have taken place in Detroit neighborhoods in years past—a major concern for residents’ safety. DTE spokesman Singer stated that the utility is under no obligation to power communities that don’t pay their bill, but “wanted to maintain some service,” according to CrainsDetroit Business.
According to the real estate index by Neighborhood Scout, Highland Park’s safety is rated 2 out of a possible 100. In other words, Highland Park is one of the most dangerous places to live in the US. Crimes per square mile in Highland Park are 497, compared to 41 for the state of Michigan and nationally.
The loss of street lighting in Highland Park is the most dramatic and recent example of this process of decay.
So-called “public” lighting is, throughout the US, subject to the profit requirements of utility bondholders and investors. Under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Public Utility Commission, DTE Energy is guaranteed at least an 11% return on equity. The firm is one of the largest diversified utility companies in the nation with a market capitalization of $8.6 billion.
Under conditions of an unprecedented number of energy shutoffs—last year more than 1 million people in Michigan were cut off at some point in the year—profits continue to roll in for DTE. Second quarter 2011 earnings more than doubled year over year, rising from $86 million in 2010 to $202 million in 2011. The company’s financial report attributed a substantial rise in operating earnings due to “solid results” at Energy Trading and Detroit Edison
I relate that DTE Energy is one of the most prized utilities in America, It is a top dividend paying utility along with Dominion Resources, D, and Alliant Energy, LNT. Chart of DTE, D, LNT, WEC. DTE Energy pays a prized 4.2% dividend.
Wikipedia reports Highland Park, is a city in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 11,776 at the 2010 census. The city is completely surrounded by Detroit except for a small portion that touches the city of Hamtramck, which is also surrounded by Detroit.
CLRSearch provides the Detroit, Michigan 48203 Demographics Summary
ZipSkinny reports 35% of the people live below the poverty level..
ZipGraphs reports Of the total population of Highland Park, 25.01% of people have an educational achievement of 9th-12th grade nongrad, and 30.08% have graduated from high school. 21.57% of people in 48203 have some college
ZipDataMaps provides a map and relates The current unemployment level in 48203 is 13.41% which is lower than the current county unemployment level of 13.7% and is higher than the current state unemployment at 11% and higher than the current national unemployment rate at 9.1%. The majority ethnicity residing in 48203 is African American while the majority ethnicity attending 48203 public schools is African American. 86.15% of students in 48203 public schools receive or are eligible to participate in free or reduced lunch programs.