At DTE Energy, we’re committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable energy for our customers. That’s why we’re working to build the grid of the future in Pontiac, one of the oldest and most diverse cities in Michigan. Through our rebuilding work, we expect to improve power reliability by an expected 90% for customers served by the upgraded substation and equipment.

From 2023 to 2025, we’ll have invested more than $31 million to modernize and rebuild the electric grid in and around downtown Pontiac. This work includes:  

  • Installing smart grid devices called reclosers. Positioned on top of power poles, reclosers are designed to locate damage that caused an outage and allow us to quickly restore power to a portion of customers while we make repairs. 
  • Upgrading and adding new equipment at the substation that delivers power to downtown Pontiac. This work will add capacity to the system and improve reliability, 
  • Replacing more than 15 miles of electrical equipment, like overhead wires, underground cables, conduit and transformers, that deliver power to homes and businesses. This new equipment is more resilient to wind and storms. 
  • Installing new, stronger utility poles and attached equipment that can better withstand extreme weather.  
  • Adding a mile of new conduit and cables in the downtown area.  
  • Trimming trees growing close to powerlines. Fallen trees and branches on our equipment account for half of the time our customers spend without power.  
Customer benefits 

This project will improve power quality and resiliency of the electric service in Pontiac, reducing the frequency and duration of power outages. Additionally, the work will enhance public safety and add capacity to the grid to support future growth in the city. The added capacity will also enable the integration of more electric energy options like electric vehicles. 

Construction progress 

Summer 2023 – April 2024: Crews rebuilt more than four miles of overhead electrical equipment, including installing new utility poles, crossarms and pole top equipment near Montcalm Street. 

Fall 2023 – April 2024: Installed a mile of new conduit along Edison Street, Fairgrove and Clark Streets. Soon, crews will return to pull new cable into the conduit. This equipment will support customers in downtown Pontiac. 

November 2023 – April 2024: Crews began the expansion and upgrade of the substation that powers Pontiac from Montcalm Street to the downtown area and Telegraph to Martin Luther King Boulevard. We are replacing the substation’s two transformers with new ones and are installing a new power delivery center. This new equipment will allow us to deliver more reliable power to even more customers in the city. It also will enhance automation of the system, allowing us to prevent and restore power more quickly. 

This work will continue through the end of the year. In 2025, we will begin switching customers over to the newly rebuilt electrical system. After this work is all completed, customers will begin experiencing improved power reliability.  

This project is part of our plan to build the grid of the future, which includes transitioning to a smart grid, upgrading existing infrastructure, rebuilding significant portions of the grid and trimming trees. Stay up to date on work happening in your community, visit empoweringmichigan.com/reliability-improvements.