Did you know many of our utility poles are outfitted with guards or deterrents that protect wildlife from endangering themselves and our system? They’re small, subtle features to protect small squirrels, racoons, skunks, rats, cats, birds and the like that you’ve probably seen before and just not realized. 

In the spring, summer and fall months, small critters and birds all over metro Detroit are out and about accenting these beautiful seasons in southeast Michigan. Unfortunately, these little critters and rodents are a leading cause of outages. 

One way our team counteracts this is installing animal guards (like the ones pictured at a recent reliability upgrade in West Bloomfield) on utility poles, most often on cable poles.  An animal guard—sometimes called squirrel guards or critter guards—is a unique plastic wrap for use on utility poles to discourage the climbing of wildlife up to our equipment. It is UV-stabilized to withstand many years of prolonged sun exposure. It can also be placed at any strategic location on the pole to impede accessibility to animals. 

Other measures taken are plastic owls on top of poles where birds are problematic and plastic coverings at pole top switches so squirrels can’t get near energized parts. 

Just more ways we’re trying to keep DTE customers informed of the many ways our team serves you AND our local wildlife. 

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 Rochester area community page to learn more about what’s going on in your neighborhood. You can also follow DTE on Facebook and Twitter for even more updates and information.