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Ford Field is a Downtown Detroit staple that hosts dozens of events every year in addition to being the home of the Detroit Lions. While DTE can’t power a win with the flick of a switch, we do play a role in making sure the lights are powered up, projector screens are on, and concessions have the electricity they need to serve thousands of fans! 

The stadium is sourced by three power lines that carry electricity from the Cato substation, each responsible for feeding a different part of the building. 

“Each feed uses 13,200 volts, or a total of 39,600 volts, compared to approximately 120 volts used to power up your home,” said Chris Coverdale, primary service representative, who services Ford Field. 

The Lions began construction on Ford Field in August of 1999, but DTE started electrical work approximately two years prior.  

“It was a long process,” recalled Ken Bush, Field Underground Supervisor at Trombly Service Center in Detroit, who worked on developing the stadium 25 years ago. “We wanted to source the stadium with power from an updated system, so we created a whole new substation specifically for this project.” 

DTE crews created the Cato substation and moved all the underground power lines housed from Brush St. to Cass Ave. to be sourced from the new substation, which has nearly three times the capacity of the substation that was feeding that area prior to the move.  

“Most of what it takes to power up a Lion’s game is in the infrastructure,” explained Coverdale, “but our crews are onsite during larger events in case of an emergency, like Thanksgiving Day games, or when we host a Super Bowl.” 

“We communicate with the city during larger events to ensure work isn’t being done in the area to avoid a potential disruption to power.”  

We took a tour of Ford Field’s electrical room to show you how it looks. 

“Most of the equipment is owned by Ford Field, so they perform regular upkeep, and we perform maintenance every couple years,” said Coverdale. 

Here are some photos of the transformers in the electrical room, which are connected to the Cato substation and power up the stadium. What you see are the primary and secondary transformers. The secondary is used for back-up, and automatically kicks in within seconds if the primary goes out.    

Go Lions!