Southfield man says pine tree left on power lines 4 months after storm

Help Me Hank works with DTE Energy to clear tree from power lines

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Metro Detroit is expecting thunderstorms this weekend, which means many residents will be holding their breath, hoping the power doesn't go out.

DTE Energy officials said power outages are mainly caused by fallen trees. One Southfield resident has been waiting for months after a storm forced a tree down on his line, and nobody came back to clean it up.

Warren Newton called Local 4 consumer investigator Hank Winchester to solve the problem.

Thousands of Metro Detroit residents lost power in March. There were downed power lines and tree branches everywhere.

The storm knocked down a pine tree onto Newton's power lines, and four months later, it's still on the ground.

"I haven't heard from anyone," Newton said.

Crews came out in March to trim the tree so the lines could be restored, but once it was down, nobody came back.

"They promised within a week they would haul it away," Newton said. "Nothing. No results. No response."

That's when Warren called Help Me Hank.

Hank called DTE, and their records showed that their contractors came out to trim the tree but not to cut it down. They agreed to help Warren, cutting it down and taking it away, and leaving his yard clear.

DTE also invited Help Me Hank to ride along and talk about their tree-trimming policies.

DTE removes enough of the tree to just get it off the line. They'll leave it on a resident's property for them to take care of.

If there's a storm, DTE will remove what's on the line, restore power and return another day to clean it up.

If it's a maintenance issue, property owners have to cut down the tree themselves.

You can watch Hank's full story in the video posted above.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.