Your storm questions, answered

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On Wed., March 8, much of Southeastern Michigan sustained winds comparable to those of a tropical storm. This windstorm caused more than one third of DTE Energy’s 2.2 million electric customers to lose power and caused the largest weather event in our organization’s history.

This page shares more information about this outage and our restoration process, and what you can expect as we work around the clock to restore power to our customers.

Q: What caused the widespread outages that occurred March 8-9, 2017, and how many people were impacted?

As of 8 a.m. Friday, nearly 800,000 DTE Energy customers have been impacted and approximately 400,000 customers remain without power as the result of severe winds that pummeled our Southeast Michigan service territory. This was the largest weather event in DTE history, with Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw Counties hit hardest.

Saturated soil and high winds resulted in extensive tree damage and downed wires.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, March 8, near-hurricane-level wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour caused extensive tree damage, resulting in more than 4,000 downed power lines. Due to unusually warm weather and significant rainfall this winter, the ground in affected areas is very soft and saturated.  This caused trees to uproot and fall onto DTE’s power lines and poles during periods of strong winds, resulting in widespread outages.

Q: What should I do if I see a downed power line?

  1. Stay at least 20 feet away from all power lines and anything they may contact; consider any wire you see to be live and extremely dangerous.
  2. Do not cross yellow caution tape. If you see yellow caution tape, it means there’s a live wire in the area.
  3. Never drive across a downed power line. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.
  4. Report the downed power line. When you’re in a safe area, please report the downed wire through dteenergy.com or the DTE Energy Mobile app, or by calling 800.477.4747.

Q. How do I report an outage?

If you have a smart meter, we’re aware of your outage and we’re working to restore your power.

If you don’t have a smart meter – or if you prefer to report your outage manually –  you can report your outage through dteenergy.com, the DTE Energy Mobile app, or by calling 800.477.4747.

Q. When will my power be restored?

We remain focused on securing downed wires throughout the community, as public safety is our first priority.  Our crews are also in the field, working around the clock in order to restore our customers’ power as quickly and safely as possible. We expect that roughly 90 percent of affected customers will be restored by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 12.

We understand the inconvenience this significant weather event has caused, and we appreciate your patience as our crews work as quickly and safety as possible to restore power to our customers. Additional crews from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, New York Pennsylvania and Ohio are assisting us in our restoration efforts.

Click here for more info about our restoration strategy.

Q. I’m having a hard time making a payment. What should I do?

While payment functionality is available through dteenergy.com and the DTE Energy Mobile app, we understand our customers are having issues accessing their accounts and/or making payment due to an unprecedented level of website traffic.

We’ve updated our website homepage to make navigation quicker and easier during this storm period. Visit dteenergy.com, click on “make a payment,” and follow the directions on the Guest Pay screen to make a one-time payment to your DTE account.

Please note, we’ve suspended all action – including shutoffs and late fees – related to past-due payments/accounts until Monday, March 13.

Q. What should people with medical conditions do during the outage period?

If you – or a friend or family member – are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. In a non-emergency situation, make alternative accommodations with family or friends who are not impacted by the outage, contact your medical professional to discuss potential options, or dial 2-1-1 to find local services and get help today.

Q. What do I need to know about using a generator?

Always operate generators outdoors to avoid a dangerous and potentially deadly buildup of toxic fumes. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. It’s an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can be fatal. CO is produced by incomplete combustion of fuel, including natural gas. Know the potential sources of CO in your home. Learn more about Carbon monoxide safety here.

Please refer to your generator owner’s manual for information specific to your model.

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