You may have read our previous stories about DTE crews working underground to update or repair the electric grid. These provide a broad overview on how our crew safely and efficiently gets the job done. However, this process is far from simple.   

First, DTE crews ensure nearby homes and business are supplied with a secondary power source. Then, we deenergize the damaged part of the grid in order to safely locate the exact point that needs to be repaired or replaced. Our team often implements a method called the thumper technique. Cable test crews use a generator to send a high voltage signal to the underground system, causing the cable fault point to make a distinctive “thump” sound. As crews safely operate the generator, they carefully walk the perimeter of the cable, with specialized hearing equipment and an attentive ear, to locate the fault.   

This is a time-consuming process as cables can stretch up to 1800 feet. Furthermore, if the fault location is found to be in a portion of cable that is greater than four feet below ground, additional support is needed to safely adjust the underground system back to operational standards. In this case, diggers, excavator operators, and DTE crews all work together to keep your power flowing and reliable for years to come. 

You may see more of our crews in the coming months as part of our accelerated electric reliability projects in your area, including more tree trimming and infrastructure updates. All these projects are underway to improve your service and reliability for the short and long term.    

Make sure to regularly check the Reliability Improvements page to learn more about what’s going on in your community. You can also follow DTE on Facebook and Twitter for even more updates and information.