Michigan weather – always unpredictable and often powerful – can cause significant damage to trees and the energy grid resulting in dangerous downed wires and power outages. At DTE, we understand the frustration outages cause and work tirelessly to restore power efficiently and safely.

DTE lineworkers and tree trimmers, along with additional crews that are sometimes needed from energy companies in other states, work 16 hour shifts throughout the day and night to serve customers. Their No. 1 goal: get the lights back on for affected customers, while keeping everyone safe.

DTE tree trimmer cutting a tree limb.

Tree limbs falling onto power lines is a major cause of outages after storms. Photo by Mark Houston.

“Depending on the severity of the storm and number of outages, we’ll often seek assistance from other utilities to assure our customers we’re doing everything imaginable to restore their power as quickly and safely as possible,” said Heather Rivard, DTE senior vice president, electric distribution.

In addition to the crews out in the field, dozens of employees gather to serve our customers from the emergency headquarters located in DTE’s HQ in downtown Detroit. Company leadership, central dispatch, customer service, communications and more, work to give instructions and dispatch crews, as well as update customers and the public with new information.

DTE also activates our Mobile Command Center and community vans in severely affected areas.

The Mobile Command Center allows us to deploy quickly to resolve a variety of significant events, including large-scale storm-related outages. It’s a great tool to improve our ability to address issues impacting the energy grid, while providing customers updated estimates and information regarding their communities. Meanwhile, community vans offer free water, ice and portable phone chargers to those in need.

“As our lineworkers are doing everything they can in the field, we have a dedicated team of employees back at our headquarters and out in the community who do their part to assist our crews and customers,” Rivard said. “It’s a true team effort and we’re grateful for our passionate employees, and those from other states who provide aid and put the needs of our customers first.”

As DTE continues to invest in upgraded infrastructure to make the grid more resilient to severe weather, while conducting top tier training to ensure the workforce is prepared for any scenario, we’re thankful for the continued patience of customers.

As always, the most important thing during outages is to stay safe. You can review DTE’s electrical safety tips here.