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Remember when you set up your internet? One of the first things you had to do was decide what internet speed your home or business needs. Because our lives are primarily driven by technology, you since may have added more streaming devices, smart home technology, etc. Over time, you may have decided to upgrade to better equipment and higher internet speeds to support your internet needs.  

Electricity is similar. As people have started moving to a more technology-driven and electrified lifestyle, some communities now require more electricity than they did years ago.  

That’s why DTE Energy is modernizing our electric grid to meet customers’ ever-changing energy needs. 

DTE is investing more than $1.3 billion annually to modernize the grid across Southeast Michigan. These upgrades will help improve reliability, safety and more for our customers. One of the biggest, most exciting upgrades we’re making is switching our 4.8kV overhead and underground distribution systems — which deliver electric power to your home or business — to new 13.2kV systems in some communities. If you are wondering what it all means or how it affects you, no problem. We’re here to break it down for you.  

What does converting systems mean? 

Simply put, this is where we do a complete replacement of the overhead and underground distribution systems. These systems include the poles, wires, conduit, transformers and other electrical equipment that help deliver power from our substations to homes or businesses. During this upgrade, we replace all older equipment with modern, stronger equipment. This improves the system’s reliability, safety and capacity to meet your growing and changing energy needs. 

Why are you converting the systems? What does 4.8kV to 13.2kV even mean? 

KV stands for kilovolts, which is how we measure the amount of electrical power we’re delivering to customers — 4.8kV is the voltage we have on some of our current systems. A higher system voltage allows us to deliver more electrical power to our customers. 

Some of the 4.8kV systems were first installed years ago when they were “state of the art.” They have had enough electrical capacity to serve our customers for many decades. But as we move to a more technology-driven, electrified lifestyle, certain communities will soon need more electric power than the 4.8kV systems can deliver. The 13.2kV systems have a greater capacity and, therefore, can deliver more electricity to neighborhoods. 

With the added capacity, we will be able to better support future growth in communities, including new businesses and people moving in. It also will account for more people working from home. Additionally, we will be more prepared for our customers’ move toward cleaner energy solutions and a more electrified future. The systems will now have the capacity to support things like the expected increase in electric vehicle charging stations at homes and businesses. 

Which neighborhoods will be converted? 
  • Currently, we’re converting customers in the following communities. These areas were chosen based on data-driven research, with more being added as we progress. 
  • Ann Arbor 
  • Detroit 
    • Brewster, Brush Park, Douglas and Midtown neighborhoods  
    • Core City, Corktown, Hubbard Richard, Jeffries, North Corktown and Woodbridge neighborhoods 
    • Downtown Detroit — Central Business District, Midtown and New Center 
    • East Village, Elmwood Park, Gold Coast, Indian Village, Islandview, Joseph Berry Sub, Lafayette Park, McDougall-Hunt, Rivertown and West Village neighborhoods 
    • Airport Sub, Buffalo-Charles, Gratiot Town/Kettering, Gratiot Woods, a portion of Hamtramck, Pingree Park and West End neighborhoods 
  • Downtown Clawson 
Why aren’t you converting my community? 

We have plans to update our entire service territory to 13.2kV. However, to keep energy bills affordable, we are staggering our conversion schedule. Crews are starting in neighborhoods with both the oldest infrastructure and the greatest need for additional capacity. 

I’m not getting converted to the new systems yet. So, will my service be less reliable? 

No. Some areas simply don’t use as much electricity as others, so they don’t need the new systems just yet. If your neighborhood isn’t getting converted at this time, we are still working to improve your reliability now, including: 

  • Constructing, modernizing and expanding new substations 
  • Trimming trees near power lines 
  • Upgrading and replacing some electrical equipment and poles 
  • Reconfiguring and relocating existing power lines 
  • Incorporating preventative inspections and maintenance 
Continuous improvement 

DTE is dedicated to continuously improving our infrastructure, so you have the power you need now and in the future. Get more information on reliability improvement work happening in your neighborhood at empoweringmichigan.com/reliability-improvements.