Many of us have experienced the inconvenience of a power outage. Whether six-minutes long or six-hours long, the loss of power is frustrating.

DTE Energy makes every effort to provide customers with reliable, uninterrupted electric service, but sometimes conditions beyond our control can cause disruptions. Read on to find out all of the elements that can impact your electric reliability.

Weather is one of the most common causes of power outages for DTE customers. Storms and strong winds can knock down trees, causing them to fall on power lines or damage the equipment that delivers power to your home or business.

Winter ice can also pose a problem. Ice can increase the weight of tree branches by up to 30 times, according to The Weather Channel, causing them to break off and land on power lines or equipment. And just one-half-inch of ice accumulation can add 500 pounds of extra weight onto power lines, causing them to snap.

While we can’t control the weather, we are taking significant steps to limit its impact, by hardening our system to be more resilient.

We all love trees, but trees growing too closely to power lines can be problematic. Outages occur when tree branches come into contact with power lines, and when tree limbs fall onto lines or equipment.

DTE regularly trims trees within 20 feet of a utility pole, and encourages customers to have trees on their property trimmed to prevent them from interfering with electric service. For more information about our tree maintenance, go to dteenergy.com/treecare.

Maintenance/Planned outages
Like roads and bridges, the electric infrastructure suffers wear and tear. To make upgrades or provide routine maintenance safely, we sometimes have to interrupt your service. We inform customers in advance of planned outages, and provide an estimate of how long power will be out.

During routine maintenance, there are instances when an unplanned outage is necessary to safely continue work. During these events, we can’t always notify customers in advance, but do our best to follow-up with an explanation shortly after power is restored.

Equipment failure
It’s frustrating when your computer crashes right when you were finishing that project, or when you want to show your friend that YouTube video on your phone, but it just won’t load. No one is at fault, it just happens, right? We get frustrated when our equipment fails too.

Over time, electrical equipment may be weakened by lightning strikes and temporary faults, which occur when a tree limb comes in contact with a line.

The use of smart meters and smart sensors alert DTE immediately if there’s an issue on our lines or with your service, and can direct crews to the problem area so that we can restore power faster and minimize the number of customers impacted by the outage.

Animal and other interference
Squirrels, birds and other small critters are notorious for getting into electrical equipment and onto power lines. When animals come in contact with equipment such as transformers and fuses, it can cause equipment to momentarily fail or shut down completely, resulting in a power outage for customers.

Another culprit that may cause an outage is Mylar balloons. You know when that 3-year-old (or 30-year-old) loses their grip on foil balloons at a birthday party – well, if they get caught up in the power lines, they may cause the power to go out too.

Vehicle accidents
The impact from a vehicle crashing into a utility poles can cripple the pole, damage equipment and take down power lines, impacting electric service.

What to do when the power goes out
We know that power outages are frustrating and inconvenient. That’s why we’re always working to strengthen our energy system to bring you safer, cleaner, more reliable energy and peace of mind.

If you do happen to experience an outage, there are three convenient ways to contact DTE: call 1-800- 477-4747, visit DTE’s website at dteenergy.com or by accessing the DTE Energy Mobile App from your smart phone or tablet. The app is available free of charge from the Apple Store or Google Play. Additional information is available through the online Power Outage Map at www.dteenergy.com/outage

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