When strong winds with gusts of nearly 70 mph blew through Southeast Michigan on May 4th, it toppled more than 1,000 trees and tree limbs into DTE Energy’s power lines, knocking out power to more than 300,000 customers and causing significant damage to the electric infrastructure.
Whenever a large storm causes numerous power outages, our No. 1 priority is safety. And then our next focus is getting the power back on as safely and quickly as possible for our customers. Oftentimes, this means we do what it takes to restore the power, and then develop a plan to come back to implement permanent repairs to the energy grid.
Over the next month, you will continue to see DTE employees and contractors, including tree trimmers, working in the field on repair jobs related to the storm.
While we are intent on making repairs quickly, the work takes time and it won’t be done in a day or a week. We still have nearly 5,000 issues remaining from the wind storm damage, including broken poles, missing spans of wire and trees leaning up against our lines. We also have more than 700 known tree trim jobs related to the same storm, not accounting for any other recent weather events or acts of nature.
Our commitment is to get our system back to normal operations as quickly and safely as possible so it doesn’t further impact reliability for customers. And while our crews are in the field on repair jobs, we are maximizing our resources. We’re not just repairing the damage, but replacing our infrastructure as we go. For example, if we see a utility pole that’s cracked, we’ll replace it, not just patch it.
While we can’t control the weather, we are taking significant steps to limit its impact. Even though some outages will still happen, we are improving the way we are responding by increasing our energy grid’s resiliency to Michigan’s severe weather, continuing to trim trees that are hazardous to the electrical system, and using new technologies so we can respond and restore customers quickly.