Earlier this week, DTE Energy restored power to 105,000 customers after 60 mph winds blew through Southeast Michigan. About 95 percent of all customers were restored within 25 hours from when the storm started – that’s about 3,600 customers per hour. This storm provided the company with the opportunity to see how its most recent electric infrastructure improvements have increased the grid’s resiliency to Michigan’s extreme weather.
DTE Energy is in the process of a multi-year plan to modernize the energy grid – making a smarter, more reliable system that can adapt to customers’ changing needs and better withstand the cold, icy winters and hot, stormy summers.
New materials and designs, like fiberglass and polymer utility poles, along with increased efficiencies in tree trimming, have increased the energy grid’s resiliency to Michigan’s weather – preventing outages in many areas that may have otherwise experienced one.
For areas that were impacted by the storm, new technologies, such as smart meters and grid sensors, helped operators in the control rooms better understand what was happening. The more responsive system allowed DTE to quickly pinpoint problem areas and dispatch crews sooner.
DTE’s focus on continually improving its processes also helped. The on-staff meteorologist predicted the storm early Tuesday morning and engineers and other experts gathered to determine where the hardest hit areas might be. Crews were stationed across the service territory and resources were deployed hours before the wind ever struck the area late Tuesday night. Crews worked efficiently throughout the storm by isolating damaged areas in order to restore as many customers as possible before starting the necessary repairs.
While DTE has made great progress in its work to completely modernize the grid, there is still more work to be done. DTE Energy will continue both its multi-year modernization plan and its commitment to providing peace of mind to its customers with stronger, more reliable power.