Energy Theft

Energy theft is dangerous and illegal. Stealing electricity and natural gas is dangerous and it’s also against the law. It is illegal to tamper with electric or natural gas service, or reconnect it. DTE Energy has adopted a zero tolerance policy. Anyone caught stealing energy may be prosecuted. In Michigan, energy theft is a crime and can result in fines and /or jail time.

Energy theft can take several forms — meter or equipment tampering, copper theft and identity theft. Knowingly using electric or natural gas energy service that is not correctly metered or while not having a legitimate account with DTE Energy is stealing. DTE Energy monitors suspicious accounts and conducts visual investigations of its meters and service lines at homes and businesses.

DTE Energy's equipment, including meters, pipes and wires, are designed and installed by trained professionals. Tampering with this equipment exposes you, your family and your neighbors to the risk of electric shock, fire, explosion, injury or even death.

If you suspect that an electric or gas meter in our service area might have been tampered with, call our theft hotline at (800) 441-6698. All reports are kept strictly confidential. Telephone reports may be made anonymously. Remember, reporting energy theft may protect you, your family, your neighbors and your property.

Copper thieves target power lines as well as transformers on DTE utility poles. These illegal activities expose live wires and damaged equipment that can be deadly. If you suspect copper theft, please contact our Copper Theft Hotline at (313) 235-9113.

If you believe your personal information has been fraudulently used to open an electric or gas service account, or to conduct transactions related to your utility account, call (800) 447-4747.

Getting Service Restored

When energy theft occurs at a location, any customer seeking to restore service at that address — even if it is a new tenant or owner — will be required to provide positive identification and proof of ownership or tenancy. If your services have been disconnected, please do not attempt to reconnect your own service. If your electric and/or gas meter is disconnected, do not tamper with the meter. Instead, contact our Revenue Protection Dept. at 800.441.6698 for assistance in reconnecting your service.

Positive identification is verified through one or more of the following:

  • Social Security card (or official and authentic papers with SSN, such as W-2 form)
  • Driver's License or State ID
  • Passport, Work Visa and Driver’s License or State ID
  • Military ID
  • Employer Identification Number/Tax ID Number (for a business)

  • Notarized Rental Affidavit or Rental Lease (signed by both landlord and tenant)

  • Lease and/or Final Judgment Eviction Documentation (previous and current tenant information)
  • Registered Warranty Deed
  • Closing Package
  • Sheriff Deed with Bill of Sale
  • Registered Quit Claim
  • Registered Land Contract
  • Business Ownership Documents (Articles of Incorporation, DBA or LLC)

These forms of documentation to support your claim will be accepted when applicable:

  • Police Report — squatters report
  • Probate Document/Death Certificate
  • Divorce Decree
  • Power of Attorney Paper
  • Signed Affidavit/Letter of Responsibility (billing time frame to be included on affidavit)

In addition to potential prosecution, energy thieves can be charged the following fees or penalties to have their service legally restored.

  • Pole Reconnect Charge: $25
  • Gas Street Reconnect Theft Cut and Cap: $1,930
  • Gas Meter Relocation Fee for Reconnect Theft Cut and Cap: $850
  • Equipment Tampering Charge (per occurrence): $50
  • Unauthorized Energy Use Charge: $50
  • Investigation Fee: As determined by our Revenue Protection Dept.

Any arrears from previous sites may be required to be paid prior to restoration of service, in addition to a deposit and possible fees.

Energy Theft Legislation

Michigan has a number of laws to address theft of electricity and natural gas. These laws penalize individuals who steal, sell or transfer energy illegally. They also make it a felony to assault a public utility worker while he or she is performing his or her duties. Learn more about the key items of the State of Michigan Senate Bills.

DTE Energy Can Help

Many customers face economic challenges, but there are better options than theft. We can also connect you with agencies that provide services, including:

  • Payment assistance
  • Credit counseling
  • 211 United Way referrals
  • Earned Income Credit filing
  • Home Heating Credit filing
  • Low-income weatherization

Call DTE Energy at (800) 477-4747 for more information about how to get help with your energy bill.