As of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, DTE Energy has restored power to more than 90 percent of the 390,000 customers impacted by Sunday’s ice storm.
There are 1,600 workers from DTE and five states in the field today working to restore service to the 30,000 DTE customers who remain without power. Since Sunday, these crews have put up more than 250 miles of new power lines – enough wire to reach from Detroit to Traverse City.
Our remaining repairs are among the most difficult. DTE’s restoration process starts with restoring critical health and safety facilities, like hospitals and police stations, and then moves on to repairs that restore the highest number of people as quickly as possible. At this point in the process, we are tackling the smaller, more complex jobs that will restore power to the pockets of customers still experiencing outages. Crews will continue working around the clock until all impacted customers are restored.
As always, keeping our customers safe is our number one priority. We are asking everyone in our community to check on their neighbors and loved ones – especially seniors and those with disabilities or medical needs. Those who need help can call United Way’s 2-1-1 crisis hotline to find local services.
DTE Energy is also asking the public to watch out for utility crews in their area and to report suspicious activity to the police. Our linemen are working hard to restore customers as quickly as possible, and returning to a truck that’s been pilfered or a tool that’s been taken only slows their efforts.
Customers should stay at least 20 feet away from all power lines and anything they’re in contact with, and consider them live. They are extremely dangerous. Treat every downed power line as if it were energized. Customers should also heed the warning of yellow caution tape, which indicates there is a downed power line in the area. DO NOT CROSS YELLOW CAUTION TAPE. Never use a portable generator inside a home or business. It emits carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Keep it outside, away from windows and doors, so the fumes won’t come in.
- Never drive across a downed power line. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.
- Always operate generators outdoors to avoid dangerous buildup of toxic fumes.
- Don’t open refrigerators or freezers more often than absolutely necessary. A closed refrigerator will stay cold for 12 hours. Kept closed, a well-filled freezer will preserve food for two days.
- Turn off or unplug all appliances to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave on one light switch to indicate when power is restored.
- If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should try to make alternative accommodations with family or friends.
- During low-voltage conditions – when lights are dim and television pictures are smaller – shut off motor-driven appliances such as refrigerators to prevent overheating and possible damage. Sensitive electronic devices also should be unplugged.
- Stay out of flooded or damp basements or other areas if water is in contact with outlets or any electrically-operated appliance. The water or moisture may serve as a conductor of electricity. This can cause serious or even fatal injury.
- Assemble an emergency kit. It should include a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and candles, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, bottled water and non-perishable food.
- Customers who depend on electrically powered medical equipment should ask their physician about an emergency battery back-up system. If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should develop an emergency plan that allows for alternative accommodations with family or friends.
- Keep a corded or cell phone on hand because a cordless telephone needs electricity to operate. Also, customers should learn how to manually open automated garage doors.
- Customers who depend on a well for drinking water need to plan ahead on how they will obtain water. Store containers of water for cooking and washing.