DTE Energy is taking to the skies to help improve the power grid. Over the next few months, we are launching drones in areas of southeast Michigan to inspect poles, wires and pole-top equipment more efficiently. These inspections, and the upgrading work that will follow, are part of our commitment to reducing outages by 30% while cutting outage times in half by 2029. 

The drones will take photos of electrical equipment from above to help plan the work needed to improve power reliability for customers in that area. 

Drone photo of electrical equipment from above.

“Drones are an efficient tool for us when it comes to planning our reliability improvement projects,” Kelli Ellison, manager of Capital Projects at DTE Energy, said. “The drones can inspect hard-to-reach locations on the grid, which helps expediate essential work. Plus, it reduces the need to knock on a customer’s door to ask to be let into yards to do inspections. The drones will fly high above power lines and will not disrupt the customer’s day.” 

These inspections help us prepare for future upgrading work in the communities we serve, which will include trimming trees, replacing wooden cross arms with stronger fiberglass cross arms (and any assets attached to those arms), installing more durable poles if necessary and removing any existing Detroit Public Lighting Department wires. 

We look forward to the enhanced reliability and service that drone inspections will bring and will let customers know about drones coming to their area, when possible, via email and Nextdoor. 

This upgrading work is just one part of our plan to build the grid of the future: transitioning to a smart grid, upgrading existing infrastructure, rebuilding significant portions of the grid and trimming trees. Learn more about work happening in your community at empoweringmichigan.com/reliability-improvements or visit our Power Improvements Map.