The combination of a heat wave and tree limbs coming into contact with lines are being blamed by DTE Energy for power outages that left thousands of Redford residents without power over the Memorial Day weekend. But the Detroit-based utility says it’s investing billions in its electric infrastructure to combat weather-related outages.
An outage in an area along Beech-Daly Road from Joy Road north to Plymouth Road was caused by downed tree limbs on Friday, said Redford Director of Public Services and Community Development Mike Dennis. On Sunday, the southwest corner of the township went down due to DTE equipment failure, he said.
On Monday, about 1,500 residents living between Six and Seven Mile roads and Inkster and Beech-Daly lost power due to an equipment problem, according to DTE’s Power Outage Map. Many residents had power restored by the end of Tuesday.
“Due to the configuration of the energy grid in this area, the high heat did impact the equipment, causing outages over the weekend,” DTE Energy said in a statement to the Redford Sentinel. “We’re investing $4.2 billion into electric infrastructure over the next five years, to strengthen and harden our system so that it performs well during good weather and bad.
“These investments are spread out across our service territory and include new substations and equipment, new poles, wires, technology, and trimming trees in areas that impact reliability.”
Temperatures were in the low to mid 90s during the holiday weekend. Other recent weather conditions — ice and wind storms in March and April, respectively — have a lot to do with the frequent outages this spring, Dennis said. Some trees were toppled during the storm while others were left weakend and have since lost limbs
Dennis said he has been in frequent contact with DTE’s government relations representative for Redford. He thinks the company has been responsive to the township’s problems and concerns. More formal meetings between township and DTE officials are planned for next week.
“It’s something we will be discussing with DTE and seeing what they can do to help,” Dennis said of the outages.
DTE: We’re On It
Residents are hoping problems will be addressed sooner rather than later. Many took to Facebook to report outages and air frustrations over the weekend.
Nancy O’Halloran Mackey said she has lost power seven times in recent months at her home in the Joy and Inkster Road area. She wrote that she lost power for 10 hours on Friday and 10 more on Sunday.
Jen McNeff said on Facebook that her home, which sits between Five Mile and Six Mile, Inkster and Beech-Daly roads, lost power on numerous occasions a few years ago. She said action by Supervisor Tracey Schultz Kobylarz helped get the problem fixed.
McNeff had words of advice for fellow residents. “Get on DTE,” she wrote on Facebook. “It has to be old infrastructure, transformers or something. It’s absolutely unacceptable, especially when they want their bill paid.”
For its part, DTE said it has taken action.
“To address the recent outages in the Redford area,” the company said in a statement, “we have temporarily staged three portable generators in the area to provide more power source, which will reduce the load on the existing cables and wires. In addition, our crews are working around the clock to repair the underground cables that caused the outages, so the area can be returned to normal.”
The generators are installed adjacent to a DTE substation, which sits at the corner of Glendale and Beech-Daly between I-96 and Plymouth Road. Still, the company says trees account for about two-thirds of outages in metropolitan Detroit.
“Since 2017, in the Redford area we’ve trimmed trees along 70 miles of overhead power lines,” DTE said in a statement, “and expect to trim along 65 more miles by the end of 2018.”
DTE’s full plan to upgrade its infrastructure can be found here.
Top photo courtesy of DTE Energy