This month marks the third anniversary of the March 2017 windstorm that swept through much of Southeastern Michigan. The nearly hurricane-force winds whipped through the state on March 8, 2017. It caused one-third of DTE’s 2.2 million electric customers to lose power – the largest weather event in the company’s history. It’s been three years since the storm, and DTE Energy has been working to build a stronger, more reliable and resilient infrastructure.

From Michigan’s Thumb to Monroe, Detroit to Ann Arbor, customers experienced improved reliability in 2019 after the company completed infrastructure upgrade projects across the 7,600 square miles in its Southeast Michigan territory. In most areas where trees were trimmed, customers had a 65% improvement in reliability. 

“Since the tree trim program, our reliability has turned around and we have seen significant improvement,” said Paul Sincock, City Manager of Plymouth.  “The whole community is in a better place.”

In 2019, DTE trimmed more than 4,000 miles of trees, the distance from Detroit to Las Vegas and back.

“Replacing utility poles and wires and upgrading other equipment all improve service and make the energy grid more resilient to possible damage caused by weather – but nothing is more impactful for customers than trimming trees,” said Heather Rivard, senior vice president, Distribution Operations, DTE Energy. “We are balancing affordability while doing all that we can to make the grid stronger, smarter and more resilient to keep the lights on for our customers.”

Important infrastructure work also completed in 2019 includes:

  • Upgraded nearly 130 miles of our oldest circuits to the latest construction standards, improving reliability for customers.
  • Made significant improvements on 230 circuits with some of the lowest reliability levels, improving system performance for approximately 150,000 customers.
  • Inspected 64,000 poles. Strong, sturdy utility poles are the backbone of a reliable electric system.

Additionally, the energy company is in the process of implementing an advanced distribution management system. It will allow DTE to better manage the energy grid and restore power more quickly.

“We know we still have a lot of work to do, but we are committed to completing infrastructure upgrades to provide our customers safe, reliable and affordable service, as well as the peace of mind they deserve,” Rivard added.