DTE Energy supplies our 2.2 million customers with safe, reliable energy through our 47,000 miles of electric distribution lines and 21,000 miles of gas pipelines. Our ongoing commitment to improvements of our electrical grid and gas lines have increased customer satisfaction significantly since 2007.
DTE measures customer satisfaction with our utility businesses through J.D. Power — a global marketing information company representing the voice of the customer. In 2016, we had our best reliability performance in a decade.
We rank second in J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores for both gas and electric residential customers in the Midwest. We are committed to continuously improve our service and reliability until we reach the survey's top spot.
In 2016, we replaced utility poles, installed smart grid sensors and continued to trim trees near power lines. The result was improved service reliability for our customers as we kept the lights on at homes and businesses. Compared to 2014, service reliability for our customers improved 70 percent and rates remained below the national average.
Working with local communities to ensure reliability
Trees are responsible for two-thirds of the time DTE customers spend without power. To increase electric service reliability and safety, our Tree Trimming program works with communities to prevent these outages. In 2016, we trimmed 650,000 trees growing too close to power lines and our work is paying off.
The DTE Insight App provides customers with real-time energy usage data by connecting their advanced meter to their smartphone. This data helps our customers make decisions about home energy usage and reduce their bills by saving energy.
DTE Energy is committed to providing affordable energy for our customers. DTE Electric residential customer's bills are six percent below the national average. The average bill for gas customers is 24 percent lower today than 10 years ago.
DTE Program Helps Struggling Families Stay On Track
During 2015-2016, 35,000 customers enrolled in the Low Income Self-Sufficiency Program (LSP) and 84 percent successfully stayed on the plan. Only one percent of our LSP customers experienced a service disconnect during the program year.
In 2016, approximately 117,500 DTE customers received some kind of financial energy assistance. Our company and the DTE Energy Foundation donated $11 million to The Heat and Warmth Fund and United Way, keeping the lights/heat on for these customers.