When the winds subsided on March 8, 2017, we could immediately tell that this was the largest weather-related outage in our company’s proud 100-year history. Our line workers and underground splicers were out in the field, securing the 12,000 power lines that had come down during the tropical-force strength winds so our communities were safe. Line workers and tree trimming crews from other states were on their way to southeast Michigan to help restore power. The storm knocked out power to 800,000 business and residential customers – nearly 40 percent of you – in the communities we serve and call home. Uprooted trees and more than 1,300 broken utility poles seemed to be everywhere you looked.
What we witnessed in the following days was a community willing to step up and help their neighbors. With the help of the American Red Cross and other agency partners like the United Way, warming centers were established for people who needed a respite from the cold. Pastors went door-to-door in their communities to check on their neighbors.
DTE Gas technicians set out to check on over 1,000 seniors and people with medical needs who were without power. Logistics planners made sure over 1,000 line workers and tree trimmers from out-of-state had a safe place to stay and plenty of food to eat as they worked 16 hour shifts around the clock to restore power.
While these stories are heartening, and many of you had your power restored quickly, unfortunately, the extent of the storm’s damage caused some to experience prolonged disruption and hardship. If that sounds like your situation, know that we remain committed to strengthen our systems to prepare for natural disasters like this in the future. From upgrading transformers and putting more smart technology on our system to working with homeowners, businesses and municipalities to improve tree trimming, we will continue to invest in your community.
For your support, patience and understanding, we thank you.