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Nov. 28, 2022

There has been plenty of tree trimming work happening in Clinton Township, both leading into and now out of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here’s the latest on some of that work as DTE and contract crews proceed to complete more than 17-line miles of trimming on more than 3,000 trees by Jan. 1, 2023.

Crews were busy recently trimming trees and taking down overhead branches in the very heart of Clinton Township. This crew (seen here in photos) was working in the area around Mattson Street and Horseshoe Drive. Our team used a “backyard” bucket truck to raise up 50 feet into the air, allowing access to trim all overhanging branches.

The crews also climbed various trees and sawed off more branches, extending from backyards and into DTE line right of way for various nearby addresses. Each day, up to 20 DTE or contract crews are busy in Clinton Township handling this important reliability work.
We thank you and your neighbors for your ongoing patience during this process. We are committed to improving the overall reliability of your electrical service. We’ll continue to keep you updated each week on our progress right here — so, remember to please bookmark this page.

 

 

 

Nov. 15, 2022

Despite snow flurries and much colder weather settling in across Southeast Michigan, heavy tree trimming continues daily in Clinton Township. Here is another update on where we are with the work over the six weeks since this major improvement project began.

Our crews are working this week along (and on streets located both sides of) the always busy Moravian Drive. These photos were taken at the intersection of nearby Gamma Court and Delta Street in Clinton Township.

Tree trimmers climbed trees with branches that could potentially interfere with DTE equipment. Those trees were near our right of way and coming through into a customers’ backyard. Branches of these and other trees were then safely cut down by our crews and mulched.

To date, we have trimmed more than 5,000 tree branches and cut down more than 400 trees since project launch on Oct. 2 in Clinton Township. DTE work will continue until the expected completion date of Jan. 1, 2023. Our team has up to 20 trimming crews in the field, daily, in Clinton Township alone.

We thank all of you and your neighbors for your patience in this process. We are committed to improving the overall reliability of your electrical service. We’ll continue to keep you updated each week on our progress right here — so please bookmark this page.

 

 

Nov. 4, 2022

A stretch of mild fall weather is helping our crews make great progress with our current DTE tree trimming project across Clinton Township. We wanted to give you an update progress that has happened over the past month since the work in your neighborhoods began.

  • There are 14 miles of power lines serving your neighborhoods. Our crews have already covered more than three miles of that work in the first 30 days, or about 23% of the circuit. This work included some of the most densely overgrown, troubled sections affecting the overhead equipment that provides power to your homes and businesses.
  • We have trimmed 4,266 trees so far in Clinton Township.
  • We cut down and removed 388 trees since Oct. 2, 2022, along the circuit. Up to 3,000 will be eventually removed. Scroll down for more on a prior blog post with our arborists on specifics of tree trimming on this project.

The DTE tree trimming work will continue until the expected completion date on January 1, 2023. Our team continues their work with up to 20 crews in the field, daily, in Clinton Township alone.

We thank all of you and your neighbors for your patience in this process. We are committed to Improving the overall reliability of your electrical service. We’ll continue to keep you updated each week on our progress right here — so please bookmark this page.

Oct 28, 2022

With DTE Energy tree trimming operations in Clinton Township now well underway, we wanted to give you an update on the entire project, with Sandeev Sarna, DTE Director of Regional Customer Operations NE. Many neighbors met Sandeev before project kickoff when he and others from DTE went door to door to talk with customers. Here’s some more questions and answers with Sandeev!

Q: This area has had some reliability issues over the last couple of years. Was this work already planned?

A: Well, we had quite a bit of tree trimming work already scheduled in 2023 and 2024. But with more incidents of extreme weather, equipment issues, and feedback from customers, we made the decision to pull a good portion of the work into 2022 and early 2023.

Q: What made you decide to pull the work into this year and early next year?

A: Well, my big drivers were these momentary and sustained outages that we started to see this year. That is what really got our engineers to start to look at the performance on the overall circuit. We also received community feedback about reliability issues, which solidified our plan to accelerate the time frame for reliability work. And we are doing just that.

Q: You were part of the canvassing team door-to-door. What were our customers telling you face-to-face?

A: You know, when I talk to customers, they have a lot of frustration around the performance of the circuit, many even considering a generator purchase. The goal is to ensure that we have great reliability and that our customers can trust us and feel that a generator is not a “must have.” Many now are working from home, or, like me, they take care of elderly relatives at home and rely on DTE electric power for medical equipment. We understand that. I’m confident that after we do our tree trimming and our pole top maintenance work, Clinton Township residents will see a drastic improvement in their energy reliability from DTE.

Q: We started this project in an area along a right-of-way that had trees over our lines and poles like some kind of tree cathedral? Kind of pretty, but not from a power delivery or safety standpoint. So, we intentionally began with the toughest area?

A: We did. In fact, that spot off Thousand Oaks Drive and Hidden Lane was where we needed to deenergize for several hours because the tree growth was so bad. The good news is that it allowed our crews to safely remove those trees. And since that effort, the area has seen quite a bit of an improvement in overall performance. Now, we are going to catch up with trimming the rest of the circuit here through the remainder of the calendar year.

Q: Clinton Township is an area of neighborhoods with mature trees and beautiful streets and homes. Is it a balancing act to be sensitive to the wishes of those who want to have that seasonal foliage around them but also have access to reliable, resilient power they can always count on?

A We realize and respect that point of view. It can certainly feel like a tradeoff. I can relate because my own community has many beautiful, large oak trees that have been there longer than our homes. Our goal is to preserve beautification while at the same time increase access to reliable power in the months and years to come.

Q: What does success look like to you here in Clinton Township once the work is complete?

A: First off, we complete the work that we advanced and committed to getting done. We get out there and we finish the tree trimming on the entire circuit. We complete the overhead replacement of any old equipment cross arms, poles etc. that need to be replaced. Then, we begin to see a sharp reduction in outages. Now, we cannot control the weather…

Q: Right!

A: And sure, you know storms are going to roll through. But I firmly believe that after this work is done, they will experience DTE’s service in a completely different way.

We thank all of you and your neighbors for your patience in this process. Improving the overall reliability of your electrical service is the prime goal here. We’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress right here — so please bookmark this page.

 

October 19, 2022

Now that extensive tree trimming is underway across Clinton Township, we want to update residents and share some photos from recent work.

Our teams have been working in various locations this past week, like the corner of Woodcrest and Millar; along Moravian just north of Metropolitan Parkway; and Romeo Plank Drive across from Resurrection Cemetery. They have worked safely and efficiently to remove many overgrown branches off DTE main lines that could fall and cause damage to our equipment during extreme weather. This work will improve reliability for thousands of customers that live in the Clinton Township area.

Two-thirds of the time our customers spend without power is due to trees. This data and the historically stormy summer of 2021 is why DTE made a $90 million investment to accelerate tree trimming efforts across the communities we serve. You can read more about that initiative here.

We will be trimming more than 3,000 trees in Clinton Township between now and Jan. 1, 2023.

Please bookmark this page or use the QR code on your original letter left by DTE to see weekly updates of how we are improving overall reliability of DTE electric service in Clinton Township.

 

 

October 11, 2022

This past weekend, many of our neighbors in Clinton Township lost power due to an animal intrusion at our Macomb Substation, which distributes power to your home or business. This week, as part of our ongoing efforts to improve both reliability and communication in the area, Brian DelPapa DTE general supervisor for overhead, Mt. Clemens Service Center, joins us for some Q&A on the animal issue.

Q: Hello Brian, what is an animal intrusion?

A: It is anytime a small animal or bird interferes with our electrical equipment. It’s more common with overhead transformers, but on rare occasions, we see them at substations, which can be more catastrophic.

Q: That is what happened around lunchtime last Saturday at Macomb?

A: It was. We had an animal get into the top of the Macomb Substation transformer. That ended up taking down three circuits that distribute power in the area from that one substation.

Q: It is frustrating for our customers, isn’t it?

A: Totally. For us as well, since we do take measures to prevent this with animal barrier covers over the transformer connections and wiring. Plus, we make sure there are no fruit bearing trees adjacent to our substation properties that might entice small animals and birds, etc. Still, a curious critter can cause a lot of problems.

Q: And you say it can affect our overhead lines as well, right?

A: Absolutely. That is part of why tree trimming around our DTE equipment is so critical. Trees can be used by small animals as an expressway up, over and onto our equipment. We want to see less of that across the board. When we have less animal encounters, we increase our power reliability for customers.  

Q: Which animal causes the most trouble in our service area?

A: Squirrels.

Q: Full stop?

A: Full Stop. (Laughs) When it happens, that is always “it” for the squirrel. But then we get busy assessing, safely restoring power and doing any necessary repairs.

Q: Can you ever prevent these animal intrusions 100%?

A: No, sorry to say. You can work to cut down the encounters, but dealing with wildlife, there is no 100% perfect solution. Things are, unfortunately and occasionally, going to happen.

Q: We had the Macomb circuits and residents restored to power in a few hours, but still the situation was far from ideal, wasn’t it?

A: No question. It was this latest incident combined with others recently, plus extreme weather events. That is why we are working so hard right now. We have 20 crews in the field daily in Clinton Township alone. We are trimming trees, more than 3,000 of them. That alone will really impact reliability for residents and businesses — electric reliability from DTE that our customers will be able to count on in the months and years to come.

Q: Thanks, Brian!

Please bookmark this page or use the QR code on your original letter left by DTE to see weekly updates on how we are working right now to improve power delivery and overall reliability of your DTE electric service in Clinton Township.

 

 

Oct. 6, 2022

Tree trimming work began this past weekend in Clinton Township in an area that has seen some of the worst ongoing issues with heavy vegetation interfering with DTE overhead equipment and power lines.

Our DTE crews and partner contractors kicked off overall project work in the power line right-of-way off Hidden Lane and Thousand Oaks Drive.

Towering overhead limbs were cut down during the process. Some nearby DTE customers had a short disruption of power on Sunday morning and early afternoon, due to safety concerns for the crews involved with the trimming. Once that work was completed, all customers on both streets were fully restored.

This is just the beginning of an exciting project happening over the fall and early winter, trimming more than 3,000 trees to increase electric reliability for customers in Clinton Township.

Keep visiting this blog page for regular updates about progress as it happens in the days and weeks to come.

 

 

Sept. 30, 2022

Tree trimming begins this weekend in Clinton Township, and on Sunday, Oct. 2, crews will be working around Hidden Lane and Thousand Oaks Drive. Trees impacting DTE overhead equipment in this specific area have caused frequent reliability issues in recent years, so our upgrade efforts along the entire circuit will begin there. Neighbors will see DTE crews this weekend working alongside our tree trimming contract partners.

Sunday’s work will require a planned outage from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 82 customers, to ensure safe working conditions for our overhead crews in the field. Those customers have been contacted directly.

We thank all of you and your neighbors for your patience in this process. Improving the overall reliability of your electrical service is the prime goal here. We’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress right here — so please bookmark this page.

 

 

Sept. 28, 2022

As DTE tree-trimming is set to begin very soon in Clinton Township, we want to give you an idea of what’s happening now and what’s coming next for your neighborhoods. We asked Joel TerBush, arborist supervisor for DTE NW and NE regions, and Scott Lach, arborist/facilitator for Mt. Clemens Service Center to join us for some questions and answers that customers might have about the ongoing project.

Q: People may have seen DTE and/or contractor personnel in their neighborhood already. What’s been done during the month of September to date?

A: Our tree trim planners have already patrolled the circuit. That’s 17.9-line miles of it, so not small. They will have already identified trees that are priorities for either a trimming or removal. The trees that we have targeted for removal have been marked with two dots. We leave a removal permit for customers to sign, and when we have that done the tree will be marked with an “X” as ready for removal.

Q: Then how soon will actual tree trimming begin in Clinton Township?

A:  We are set to begin Oct. 1, and we have a completion date for all trimming planned for Jan. 1, 2023.

Q: How many crews will people see working in and around their neighborhoods?

A: We will have 20 dedicated crews working this project and in the field daily until completion.

Q: Why is this so important? Why so much emphasis on tree trimming to improve reliability?

A: The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. In areas where we trim back or remove trees that can bring down or impair our overhead power equipment, people can see a massive improvement in their reliability and drop in outages. That makes it worth it.

Q: How do you decide which trees to take down completely?

A: Our tree experts target removing trees that pose a threat to the safety and reliability of our equipment. In addition, trees are also targeted for removal when they require extensive trimming and a removal is the better alternative from a tree health and aesthetics perspective.  While our trimming activities target trees on the right of way, DTE will pursue removals of trees that pose a significant threat to our equipment off right of way.

Q: What about what’s left with cut down branches, etc. What do you do with the by-product of trimming?

A: Several things. For the big pieces, we cut them down to manageable size and stack them neatly on their property. They can either use and burn them, give them away to a neighbor or have them hauled away on their own. We also generate a lot of wood chips, sometimes as much as 12-14 yards of it each day for a single crew. So, lots of wood chips. And many of our customers like to keep those fresh wood chips for landscaping. If not, we haul those wood chips away.

 Q: And the crews prioritize safety as well? That’s priority one, isn’t it?

A: Yes, indeed. They absolutely do and have a great safety record in the field that we are proud of and are intent on keeping.

Q: Is it easier to get this work done in autumn, as opposed to summer or any other time of year?

A: It’s just about ideal as the leaves drop, as the trees are no longer acting as a “sail” during any stormy or windy weather, plus the oak wilt season is now just ended so we can handle just about any tree species we encounter. While autumn might be ideal, we do trim trees year round, even through the extremes of Michigan’s hot summers and cold winters.

Q: Anything else you want to add for our DTE customers on the circuit in Clinton Township?

A: Just that we look forward to getting this job done well, and trimming up to 3,000 trees to improve customers reliability and service and minimize the chances for future electric power disruptions in Clinton Township.

Q: Thanks, Joel and Scott!

 

 

Sept. 15, 2022

As we continue our reliability work in your neighborhood, we will continue to update this page with information about our progress. Below is the letter that you recently received. We thought it would be helpful to have it posted here so you can refer back if needed. We look forward to bringing you the reliable energy that your community deserves.

We know our recent electric service in the Clinton Township area has been below the standards you expect to receive and that we strive to deliver.

For that, we sincerely apologize.

I want to give you an update of what’s been causing some of the recent disruptions to your power and what our team is doing to correct the issues.

There have been several interruptions in your area recently involving overgrown trees and branches damaging our equipment. On Aug. 18, a large, dead tree fell on our equipment and caused significant damage. Earlier, in July, animals twice used overgrown trees to get into our overhead equipment, also causing outages. There was also a longer outage involving some residents related to the recent Aug. 29 storm, when 70 mph winds caused more than 265,000 customers to lose power across our service territory. Before and during that interruption, DTE crews were patrolling the lines in your neighborhood to minimize inconvenience for most residents and to restore power safely.

Finally, another equipment problem this past Thursday evening caused about 600 neighbors to lose power briefly during overnight hours before service was restored. That equipment is now in the process of being inspected and replaced.

We believe that overgrown trees and branches are the root cause of the issues plaguing your reliability, including those from the recent storm. Therefore, we are accelerating tree trimming in your neighborhood. We have already sent field crews and engineers out in August to begin inspecting and identifying issues that may affect our overhead equipment. We’ll take that information and map the work that is needed to increase your reliability. Here’s a timeline of what you can expect.

SEPTEMBER:

  • Tree trimming planning will begin and you will start hearing more communication about the timeline and the exact process involving your neighborhood.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER/DECEMBER:

  • Tree trimming work will begin in Clinton Township and be completed by the end of the calendar year.
  • Equipment upgrades will commence once tree trimming has made DTE equipment more visible and accessible.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me directly. I can be reached via email at sandeev.sarna@dteenergy.com or contact my team at 313-235-8021. You can also follow progress ongoing on our blog at www.empoweringmichigan.com or by using the QR code contained at the bottom of this letter.

Again, we apologize for the recent disruptions. We are deeply committed to improving our service and reliability in Clinton Township.

Sincerely,

Sandeev Sarna

Director-Regional Customer Operations