Friday, July 24, 2009

Moratorium NOW! Coalition Meets With DTE Energy; Demonstration Today Demands Halt to Utility Shut-offs, 4:00pm

For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: Press Conference and Demonstration at DTE Energy
Location: DTE Energy Offices, One Energy Plaza, Near Bagley and Third Ave.
Time: Friday, July 24, 4:00-5:00pm
Sponsor: Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions, Utility Shut-offs
Contact: 313.671.3715 or 313.887.4344

Moratorium NOW! Coalition Meets With DTE Energy Representatives to Propose a Freeze on Utility Shut-offs; Demonstration Will Take Place Friday at Headquarters

Two representatives of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs met with DTE Energy executives on Thursday July 23 to press for a company-imposed halt to service terminations. This demand is being made in light of the worsening economic conditions facing the people of Detroit and the state of Michigan.

DTE representatives did not endorse a moratorium on shut-offs but provided information about existing policies and proposals for new programs aimed at consumers. However, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition maintained that a halt to shut-offs would provide relief to consumers as well as save lives.

Our thoughts and concerns go out to the Detroit family that has loss four love ones as a result of the corporate policies of DTE Energy. Mar'Keisha, DeMarco, DeMonte and Vaughn Reed are no longer with us because of the negligence of a leading profit-making company located downtown.

After DTE Energy officials acknowledged in the newspapers recently that they had received information that could have prevented the shut-off of services for the Vaughn Reed family, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition is demanding that the shut-off of utilities services be halted immediately in order to prevent the further deaths of people in the Detroit metropolitan area.

The Detroit area is experiencing unemployment and foreclosures rates at an astronomical level. Inside the city over 25% of working families have suffered job losses and the consequent economic problems that follow.

The growing unemployment figures, the rising rates of utility shut-offs, the lack of health care, home foreclosures and evictions clearly illustrate that Michigan is in an economic state of emergency. Therefore, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs is demanding that Gov. Granholm officially declare an economic state of emergency and immediately place a halt on all foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs throughout the state.

Banking institutions, the auto companies, and insurance firms have, all combined, received trillions of dollars in government handouts to maintain their operations. At the same time, millions of workers are losing their jobs, homes, apartments, health care and pensions every year in the United States.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is calling for the building of an effective movement to fight the worsening crisis facing working families in this region as well as throughout the country. Please join us in working toward this effort on Friday, July 24 at a demonstration and press conference outside the corporate officies of DTE Energy between 4:00-5:00pm.

Representatives of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition are available for comment to the press by contacting the organization at the numbers listed above.

Abayomi Azikiwe,
Media Liason

Friday, July 24, 2009

Michael Moore interested in tragic story of 4 who died after power shutoff

Catherine Jun / The Detroit News

Detroit -- The deaths of three children and their father from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning following their power shutoff have gotten the attention of filmmaker Michael Moore.

Moore, whose films include "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Bowling for Columbine," is now working on "Capitalism: A Love Story," scheduled for release Oct. 2.

His film crew was dispatched this week to the home on the 3700 block of Grandmont.

"It's a tragic story, and that's why we're interested in it," said Rod Birleson, senior field producer for "Sicko," another of Moore's films. Birleson said Moore is considering the family's story for his current project or a future film. "There's a shutoff and it appears that DTE is continuing with these shutoffs at a time when we don't yet know exactly why this mistaken shutoff occurred."

On July 16, DTE Energy shut off the power at the home, prompting the family to place a generator in their basement to run medical equipment and air conditioning. Hours later, four of the family members were dead: Vaughn Reed, 46, Mar'Keisha Reed, 17, DeMarco Owens, 12, and DeMonte Owens, 6. The funeral is Saturday at New Providence Baptist Church in Detroit; viewing is tonight, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Though DTE received notice of the father's bankruptcy filing weeks prior -- which should have prevented a shutoff -- a discrepancy in the address and name spelling prevented the company from flagging the home for bankruptcy protection. Multiple letters, phone calls and visits were made before the shutoff order, DTE officials said.

The tragedy also has stirred local activists.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition plans to hold a demonstration this afternoon in front of the DTE Energy building in Detroit to call for a moratorium on utility shutoffs during the recession.

"Even though it's summertime, what happened last week shows the danger of shutoffs," said Abayomi Azikiwe, spokesman for the coalition. Donations of more than $4,000 have been collected by a fund operated through Bank of America.

On Thursday, Marquetta Owens, mother of the children, searched for trinkets to place in the caskets: Matchbox cars for the youngest; a piece of cardboard for the brother, who loved arts and crafts; a pencil for the teenager, who enjoyed drawing; and the father's favorite drink.

"The kids made sure their dad always had cases of Gatorade," she recalled. (313) 222-2019

Find this article at:

Protest to support family, target DTE's criminal negligence
Community members say DTE responsible for the death of four July 16

By Bryan G. Pfeifer

The insatiable greed of DTE Energy has led to yet another criminal
atrocity resulting in the deaths of four African Americans in Detroit
July 16.

According to the July 17 Detroit News, the Reed-Owens’ family had
their electricity cut off by DTE for nonpayment July 15. With serious
medical conditions of various family members including asthma,
neurofibromatosis and bronchitis that needed the use of electric
breathing machines, the family was desperate when their power was cut off.

The Reed-Owens’ then went to their church to borrow a gas powered generator which they placed in their basement; only hours later four of the five family members died due to suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Marquetta Owens told the News that her partner Vaughn Reed, and their children Mar’Keisha Reed, 17, DeMarco Owens, 12, and DeMonte Owens, 6, perished in their home. (

Like millions of other families in the United States, the Reed-Owen’s,
through no fault of their own, had fallen victim to unemployment when
Mr. Reed was laid off from an auto parts supplier in January thus
creating many financial hardships for the family including their home
being foreclosed on. Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S. with the official figure at 15.2 percent but it is much higher
particularly in African American and other communities of color.
Foreclosures and evictions in the state are also at depression-level

The Reed-Owens tragedy is particularly heart wrenching and outrageous as the family had filed for bankruptcy protection thus it was illegal for DTE to shut off their utilities. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court on June 25 sent DTE an electronic notification of the Reed-Owen’s bankruptcy filing.

But DTE didn’t stay the shutoff; instead the corporation
claims the notice was sent to the wrong address-not the home were the Reed-Owens were residing. And even after a telephone call from Mr. Reed to DTE on Wednesday, July 15 where he told the company he had filed for bankruptcy, power wasn’t restored immediately; DTE says it was going to turn the power back on by the next day but then it was too late.

Neighbors and family members of the Reed-Owens are outraged and aghast over DTE’s criminal actions.

“At these times of crisis, what is the problem?” said Pamela Jackson, Mrs. Owen's cousin who said DTE never should’ve turned off the power.

DTE’s mission: Profits before People

DTE Energy is a monopoly corporation operating throughout the U.S. Its 2008 operating revenues were $9.3 billion and the corporation claims over $24 billion in assets and $546 in net income according to its 2008 financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). DTE’s two primary utilities are Detroit Edison Company (Detroit Edison), an electric utility with 2.2 million customers in Michigan, and the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company (MichCon), its natural gas utility with 1.3 million customers. DTE is also making “significant investments in non-utility asset-intensive businesses.”

DTE’s Board of Directors is crawling with Chrysler, Ford, Comerica
and other corporate thieves including investment “advisors,” and a
former Army General who worked for the Pentagon and the Army’s 1st Infantry Division. Behind the corporation’s slogans of “making dreams real,” the reality is that DTE’s top priority is putting profits
before families such as the Reed-Owens.

Granholm: ‘State of Emergency NOW!’

To protest the Owen’s family’s death and other murders and atrocities committed by DTE and to demand that Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm declare an immediate State of Emergency in Michigan to include a moratorium on all foreclosures, evictions, utility shutoffs, layoffs and plant closings, the Moratorium Now Coalition is having a press conference and demonstration at DTE headquarters, One Energy Plaza, in Detroit July 24 beginning at 4:30 p.m. For more


DTE Energy Board of Directors

- Anthony F. Earley, Jr. has been chairman of the board and chief
executive officer since 1998 and was also DTE Energy’s president and chief operating officer from 1994 – 2004. He joined the company in 1994, and that same year was elected to the board.

- Gerard M. Anderson. has been the president and chief operating
officer of DTE Energy Company since 2005. He also served as the
president from 2004 through 2005 and Executive Vice President from
1997 through 2004. He joined the company in 1993. Anderson was elected to the board in 2009.

- Lillian Bauder is the retired vice president of Masco Corporation.
She previously served as vice president of corporate affairs and as
the Chairman and President, Masco Corporation Foundation from October 1996 through December 2005. Bauder was elected to the DTE Energy Board in 1986. (C, N, P)

- W. Frank Fountain is the chairman of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum Foundation Board of Directors and advisor to Chrysler, LLC. He previously served as senior vice president of external affairs and public policy at Chrysler LLC. He joined Chrysler Corp. in 1973 and held top leadership positions in the company's corporate controller's office, treasurer's office and government affairs office in
Washington, D.C. He was elected to the DTE Energy Board in 2007. (A, P)

- Allan D. Gilmour is the retired vice chairman of Ford Motor Company. He served as vice chairman from 1992 to 1995, and then again from 2002 until his retirement from Ford Motor Company in 2005. He was elected to the DTE Energy Board in 1995. (C, F, O)

- Frank M. Hennessey has been chairman and chief executive officer of Hennessey Capital LLC since 2002. He is the former vice chairman and chief executive officer of MascoTech Inc. He joined the DTE Energy Board in 2001. (A, O)

- John E. Lobbia is the former chairman and chief executive officer of
DTE Energy. He retired in 1998. He joined the company in 1965 and has served on the DTE Energy Board since 1988. (F, N)

- Gail J. McGovern is president and chief executive officer of the
American Red Cross. Prior to that, she was a professor at the Harvard Business School, president of Fidelity Personal Investments and executive vice president of consumer markets, AT&T. She was elected to the DTE Energy Board in 2003. (F, P)

- Eugene A. Miller is the retired chairman, president and chief
executive officer, Comerica, Inc. and Comerica Bank. He retired in
2002. Miller has served on the DTE Energy Board since 1989. Mr. Miller is currently the DTE Energy Board Presiding Director. (C, F, O)

- Mark A. Murray. has been the President, Meijer, Inc. since 2006.
Prior to that he was the President of Grand Valley State University
from 2001 through 2006 and Treasurer for the State of Michigan from
1999 through 2001. He was elected to the board in 2009. (P)

- Charles W. Pryor, Jr. has been Chairman, Urenco Investments, Inc.
since January 2007 and was the president and chief executive officer
of Urenco Investments, Inc., from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, he was
the chief executive officer of Utility Services Business Group of
British Nuclear Fuels, plc and the former chief executive officer of
Westinghouse Electric Company. He has served on the DTE Energy Board since 1999. (F, N)

- Josue Robles, Jr. is the President and CEO of USAA and was
previously the executive vice president, chief financial officer and
corporate treasurer of the USAA since 1994. A retired U.S. Army Major
General, Robles served more than 28 years in the military, including
an assignment as director of the Army budget and Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division, The Big Red One. He was elected to the DTE Energy Board in 2003.
(A, P)

- Ruth G. Shaw is the former president and CEO of Duke Power Company. Shaw joined Duke Energy in 1992, and held a number of executive positions, including president of Duke Energy Foundation, and president of Duke Nuclear. Prior to joining Duke Power, Shaw served as president of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, and president of El Centro College in Dallas, TX. Shaw joined the Board in 2008. (N, O)

- James H. Vandenberghe is the former vice chairman, Lear Corporation. He retired in 2008. He was previously the Chief Financial Officer, Lear Corporation. He was elected to the DTE Energy Board in 2006. (A,
F, C)

Committee membership: A - Audit, C - Corporate Governance, F -
Finance, N - Nuclear Review, O - Organization and Compensation, P -Public Responsibility


DTE Energy Key Facts: 2008 Annual Report

Revenues $9.3 billion
Net Income $546 million
Market Cap $4.6 billion
Assets $24.6 billion
Credit Rating BBB-
Employees 10, 471

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