Detroit — the city that put the world on wheels — is rising back to the top and returning to its innovative roots. With leading companies like Ford expanding operations, new businesses popping up and thousands of people moving to the city each year, delivering reliable power to Detroit is more important than ever. That’s why DTE Energy is investing more than $165 million into building a modern, more resilient grid system around the historic Corktown neighborhood and the west riverfront areas of Detroit.  

“Over the next five years, we’re modernizing the overhead and underground distribution system in the area,” Michael Thompson, Distribution Operations project manager, said. “The work we’re doing today will make the power we provide more dependable and will help us meet our customers’ growing energy needs.” 

The work, which began October 2022 and is expected to be completed by December 2027, includes: 

  • Modernizing the underground and overhead distribution systems, which deliver power to homes and businesses. 
  • Upgrading 30.5 miles of overhead and underground infrastructure including new cables, conduit and other electrical equipment.  
  • Installing smart grid devices called reclosers. Reclosers allow us to pinpoint the damage location that caused an outage and restore power to a portion of customers.
  • Replacing utility poles with taller, stronger poles, which will better withstand the elements. Restoration of property will follow in areas where poles are removed. 
  • Trimming or removing treesthat may interfere with power lines. 

This type of work has proven to improve reliability for customers. Some of the other benefits customers will experience include: 

  • Increased safety and power quality. 
  • Reduced wire down events. 
  • Decreased outages during extreme weather. 
  • Increased grid capacity. 

Currently, the distribution system that powers Detroit is nearly 100 years old. We will be doing a complete removal and replacement of the underground and overhead distribution systems that deliver power to you. By modernizing and adding capacity to the system, we will be able to better support future growth in and around Corktown. The increased capacity will help power new developments in the area like the Ford autonomous vehicle campus and the Greater Corktown Mixed-Income Housing Initiative. It is also needed to support new people moving into the city and working from home.  

Finally, the conversion will prepare the grid for customers’ move toward cleaner energy solutions and a more electrified future. The grid will now have the capacity to support the rapid rise expected in electric vehicle charging stations in Detroit homes and businesses. We’re also partnering with Ford on electric charging projects related to EVs. This includes the Electreon In-road Charging Pilot, the Bagley 300-plus EV charger deck and remote autonomous vehicle sensors. 

This project is part of a larger city of Detroit infrastructure investment DTE is making to modernize the grid and increase electric reliability. 

Customers in the area will receive periodic updates on the projects including outage and road closure details if their home or business is impacted. To learn more about reliability improvement work happening in your community, visit empoweringmichigan.com/reliability-improvements.