To our Customers,
The most severe weather patterns we have ever seen in Michigan hit us this summer and impacted the level of power reliability we provide to many of you. We know this is not acceptable, so DTE has taken action to attack a major source of storm damage in order to improve reliability for our customers.
We are increasing our investment in tree trimming efforts with a $70 million tree trim surge over the next 12 months, that will help combat weather-related power outages. This investment is on top of the $190 million we currently spend on tree trimming every year. This plan will not affect your bills. The investment will be used to secure more crews – nearly 300 more tree trimmers over our current plan – and equipment to remove tress and trim branches away from power lines.
As we look at our data from this past nine weeks, we can see that trees are responsible for nearly all the time many of you have spent without power during the extreme weather events of this summer. Our electric service area experienced five tornadoes and eight storms with tropical force wind gusts of 39 to 74 miles per hour. High winds and extreme moisture in the ground uprooted trees, which pulled down wires and poles, causing extensive damage to our equipment. For example, DTE crews replaced 450 broken poles as a result of the Aug. 11 catastrophic storm that caused more than 500,000 of you to lose power.
We know that trimming trees has the biggest impact on your power reliability, because in areas where tree trimming is complete, communities have experienced, on average, 60% fewer outages.
Just over a week ago, I committed to you that DTE will do better, and this is one way that we will. This plan is in addition to our current tree trim program, which means we’ll be able to get to more of you, faster.
This new plan commits us to:
- Accelerating tree trimming work for the communities hardest hit by recent storms
- Providing additional funds to our ongoing tree trimming program, resulting in an additional 3,500 line miles of trees trimmed. We have already trimmed 20,000 miles more aggressively, which is almost one time around the world!
- Increasing our tree trim workforce by 30%
We understand the beauty and environmental benefit that trees bring to your homes and businesses. Our arborists and tree trim teams will work with you when there are trees on your property that impact power lines to ensure we not only improve reliability but also keep as much of the tree’s integrity in place as possible. See more about how we trim trees . As part of our commitment to the environment, and in partnership with ReLeaf and the State of Michigan, over the past 25 years we’ve planted more than 20 million trees across our great state.
We are committed to doing what it takes to protect you from power outages caused by catastrophic storms and extreme weather patterns. We know power outages are painful for you and we are committed to reducing the impact of severe weather on our electric distribution system.
All of us at DTE remain committed to improving your lives with our energy.
President and Chief Executive Officer