We have a four-point plan to improve reliability across the communities we serve, which includes trimming trees, updating existing infrastructure, rebuilding older sections of the grid and accelerating our transition to a smart grid. As part of the rebuilding effort, DTE has invested $165 million in the area. The project, which began in fall of 2022, involves upgrading more than 30 miles of poles, wires, transformers and electrical equipment in the Core City, historic Corktown, Hubbard Richard, Jeffries, North Corktown and Woodbridge neighborhoods of Detroit. It also includes trimming or removing trees growing too close to power lines and installing smart grid technology called reclosers. Reclosers will help automatically restore power for many customers during an outage.

When completed, this project is expected to improve reliability for customers served by the updated substation and equipment by 90%.

It also will increase the grid’s safety and its capacity to support the area’s growing energy needs. 

What work has been done? 

For more than a year, crews have been working in alleyways along Michigan Avenue to trim trees and replace more than eight miles of infrastructure, including installing 480 new utility poles.  Trees contacting our equipment account for half the time customers spend without power. 

What work is happening now? 

Crews are currently working on St. Anne Street and West Vernor Highway in the Corktown neighborhood to replace utility poles, pole top equipment and wires. Some of these poles have provided power to residents for more than 70 years.  

Crews replaced 74 weathered and worn utility poles in the area. The new poles are sturdier, more weather resistant and chemically treated to withstand potential fungi and even damage from small animals. These pole replacements make it easier for pole-top equipment such as reclosers and crossarms to stay in place, especially during extreme weather.  

The crews also upgraded the wires that were attached to the old poles. The previous wire was smaller and made of a thinner copper material. The new wire is thicker and made of aluminum reinforced by steel, which holds up better in extreme weather. The new materials are also better conductors for electricity. These upgrades will help support the increasing need for power, including the growing demand for electric vehicles.  

What’s next? 

Once the equipment in this area is fully rebuilt in the coming months, we will switch customers over to the new electrical system. This higher voltage system will deliver power to customers from the new Corktown Substation, located nearby. After the switch, customers are expected to experience a 90% improvement in their reliability.  

Crews will then begin rebuilding infrastructure in the other nearby neighborhoods. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2026. 

Work like this will continue as we develop the grid of the future. You can stay up to date with this work by using our electric reliability improvements map. Find more information on the work taking place in Corktown by visiting our Corktown community page.