The historic windstorm that blew through the DTE Energy service territory in early March, leaving over 800,000 customers without power, had many wondering how we decide where to restore power first.
As with any storm, our number one priority is safety – for both our customers and crews. For everyone’s safety, we start with dangerous situations like downed power lines. A fallen line poses the highest public safety risk, and as a result, DTE employees first protect the public from coming in contact with wires.
We then repair power lines and equipment serving critical health and safety facilities like hospitals and police stations. At the same time, we’re also focusing on restoring power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest time possible. We begin by repairing substation equipment, which is essential to providing electric service to all of our customers. If you see DTE trucks drive through your neighborhood without stopping, it’s all part of the process.
We then move on to distribution lines that serve large subdivisions and businesses. Once we restore a circuit, some individual customers may still be without power due to secondary damage. This means that sometimes customers in a neighborhood will have power while others in the same neighborhood will not. Smart meter technology will notify us of those still without power.
Once larger repairs have been made, we restore service to smaller groups, working around the clock until everyone has power again. While you may not see work taking place directly at your location, our crews work in the most critical areas to restore power to your neighborhood.
Work continues after power has been restored
After the lights are back on for DTE customers, DTE crews continue restoration efforts by going back out into the field to make permanent repairs to equipment and infrastructure damaged during a storm. This work could include replacing poles, stringing new wire, trimming trees, and more. Repairs from the windstorm will take about two-and-a-half months to complete. At the same time, we also are hardening our infrastructure to help reduce the likelihood of what happened on March 8 from occurring again.
Watch our YouTube video, DTE Energy Power Restoration Strategies, to see exactly how our storm restoration process works. Use our DTE Kids Downed Power Lines video to teach your children about safety during severe weather.DTE Power Restoration