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DTE Energy (DTE - Analyst Report) has introduced a new interactive iPhone application (“app”) of Apple Inc. (AAPL - Analyst Report) that will help its customers to be updated with a variety of latest information, including real-time outage information from their mobile devices.

The DTE Energy Outage Center app is available to customers from the Apple iTunes App store or Apple.com free of charge. The Outage Center is an online central area where its consumers can get the latest information about power outages, and are guided for other frequently asked questions.

This mobile capability is added to the existing suite of outage-related offerings in order to bring useful information to customers in the manner they want. The application helps the customers to report power outages, view the status of a reported problem and explore a map that shows the number of outages reported throughout the area.

Other mobile communications offerings that are currently under development include ability to check account balances and submit mobile payments. Moreover, the company is working on an application that supports Android devices. Android device is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.

The introduction of an iPhone app will help the company to enlarge the reach of Outage Center tools to a wider audience. DTE Energy is one of the first utilities in the country to allow customers to report power outages via a downloadable native mobile smartphone application.

DTE Energy has a stable and growing utilities business with complementary non-utility businesses. Going forward, growth momentum is expected to be maintained by higher rates for its regulated business and a strong balance sheet. There are also plans to monetize its Barnett Shale assets, which would alleviate the need for external borrowings.

However, we believe these factors are already priced in the current valuation, leaving little room for any upside. Also, valuation continues to be restrained by the present unfavorable macro backdrop, lower demand for electricity, the dismal Michigan economy and pending regulatory cases. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) that corresponds with our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

On October 24, 2011, the company is expected to release its third quarter results. The Zacks Consensus Estimates for third quarter 2011 and fiscal year 2011 are currently at 99 cents per share and $3.59 per share, respectively.

Based in Detroit, DTE Energy is a diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading. Some of its competitors include CMS Energy Corp. (CMS - Analyst Report), Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (TEG - Analyst Report) and Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC - Analyst Report).

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