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DTE Energy Asks Employees to Help Safeguard Customers

Company joins state Gatekeeper program to help look out for seniors' welfare

DETROIT, April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- DTE Energy is asking its employees to be on the lookout and help identify potentially vulnerable elderly customers as part of the statewide Gatekeeper program, made even more necessary as Michigan's economy continues to tumble.

"Times are difficult for many of our customers and we want to do our part to help ensure people don't fall through the cracks," said Joyce Hayes-Giles, DTE Energy senior vice president, Customer Service. "The Gatekeeper program is an innovative partnership that looks out for our older members of the communities we serve, the people who are most at risk."

DTE Energy has many employees whose jobs bring them in contact with people on a daily basis. Employees will watch for signs that customers could be in trouble, such as disorientation, an overgrown or untended yard, and uncollected mail or newspapers.

State Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton), chair of the Senate Energy Policy Committee, joined DTE Energy leadership today to discuss the need and importance of the program with DTE Energy employees, who learned about the potential danger signs and how to respond. The program will be rolled out companywide in the next few weeks.

For DTE Energy, which has hundreds of employees working in the field, the Gatekeeper program will provide an additional tool to identify potentially at-risk customers. The program was developed in 1978 and has been implemented nationally to help ensure that every older person has a network of trained community representatives looking out for them on a regular basis.

DTE Energy is joining forces with the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA), which will take referrals from DTE Energy employees, assess the seniors' situations and get them the services they need. OSA offers help with nutrition, transportation, home maintenance, personal care and legal, safety and financial issues.

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