With summer approaching and more people working from home during this coronavirus pandemic, you may be wondering if DTE Energy has enough power to keep you cool and bright?
This spring, DTE distribution system experts, technicians and engineers in our power-generating plants performed preventative inspections and maintenance on the electrical distribution system to ensure we can meet the energy needs of our customers. Our system is ready for the increased demands.
“Every day, we are working to enhance reliability for our customers and strengthen the infrastructure,” said Ryan Stowe, vice president, Distribution Operations.
Making the system more resilient against severe weather
We know that summer often means the resurgence of severe weather. In addition to seasonal maintenance, we invest in our infrastructure year-round to make it more resilient against wind and storms.
We’re inspecting and upgrading electrical equipment throughout our service territory, upgrading and building new substations and investing in new technologies like smart grid sensors. Smart grid technologies allow us to identify problems with our equipment before they cause a power outage and help to reduce the length of outages.
We’re also trimming trees near our power lines and equipment. Trees are the leading cause of power outages – broken tree limbs can fall on to our equipment and cause damage. In most areas where trees were trimmed, customers had a 65% improvement in reliability.
When customer demand for power increases, we sometimes need to give our system an extra boost. For those times, our baseload generation fleet can transition to different coal blends to increase generation capacity. DTE has a fleet of smaller generating units that can be brought online quickly to ensure customer needs are seamlessly met, and the Merchant Operations Center can obtain power in the wholesale market from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.
One source of standby power is the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant, which we co-own with Consumers Energy. It is a hydroelectric plant located on the shores of Lake Michigan, just south of Ludington. With a generating capacity of approximately 2,018 megawatts, it can support the power needs of a community of 1.4 million people in minutes.
We also have 84 “peaking units” located throughout our service territory in the eastern side of Michigan. They can reach full power in less than 30 minutes and supplement our other generation sources when needed, allowing us to continue to provide our customers with safe and reliable electricity.