Severe storms that blew through our DTE Energy service territory Friday and Saturday caused nearly 600,000 power outages, leaving many customers wondering how we decide where to restore power first.

As with any storm, our number one priority is safety – for both our customers and DTE crews. For everyone’s safety, we start with dangerous situations like downed power lines. A fallen line poses the highest public safety risk, which is why DTE first protects the public from coming in contact with fallen wires.

Once the public’s safety is assured, we then repair power lines and equipment serving critical health and safety facilities like hospitals and police stations. If you see DTE trucks drive through your neighborhood without stopping, it’s likely they are headed to critical infrastructure, and this is all part of the process.

At the same time, we’re also focusing on restoring power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest time possible. We begin by repairing substation equipment, which is essential to providing electric service to all of our customers. We then move on to distribution lines that serve large subdivisions and businesses. Once we restore a circuit, some individual customers may still be without power due to secondary damage. This means that sometimes customers in a neighborhood will have power while others in the same neighborhood will not. Smart meter technology will notify us of those still without power.

Once larger repairs have been made, we restore service to smaller groups, working around the clock until everyone has power again. While you may not see work taking place directly at your location, our crews work in the most critical areas to restore power to your neighborhood.

Why do estimated restoration times change?

DTE recognizes that being without power is frustrating and often inconvenient for our customers and we know how important it is for customers to know when they can expect their power to be restored.