DETROIT – The weekend ice storm has 240,000 DTE Energy customer still without power.
The utility company reported Monday morning more than 390,000 customers overall were impacted by the storm. Crews have worked to restore power to 150,000 customers.
- MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: 165,000 customers still without power
DTE expects 90 percent of customers impacted by the weather will have power restored by the end of the day Tuesday. Customers will receive a more detailed estimate once a crew has been assigned to their outage, DTE said.
Crews have been dispatched to more than half of the remaining 240,000 outages, DTE said.
The next storm update from DTE will be at 9:30 p.m.
How to contact DTE
Customers have three ways to contact DTE when they lose power or see a downed power line:
DTE offers these storm power outage tips:
- Always operate generators outdoors to avoid dangerous buildup of toxic fumes.
- Don’t open refrigerators or freezers more often than absolutely necessary. A closed refrigerator will stay cold for 12 hours. Kept closed, a well-filled freezer will preserve food for two days.
- Turn off or unplug all appliances to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave on one light switch to indicate when power is restored.
- If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should try to make alternative accommodations with family or friends.
- During low-voltage conditions – when lights are dim and television pictures are smaller – shut off motor-driven appliances such as refrigerators to prevent overheating and possible damage. Sensitive electronic devices also should be unplugged.
- Stay out of flooded or damp basements or other areas if water is in contact with outlets or any electrically-operated appliance. The water or moisture may serve as a conductor of electricity. This can cause serious or even fatal injury.
- Assemble an emergency kit. It should include a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and candles, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, bottled water and non-perishable food.
- Customers who depend on electrically powered medical equipment should ask their physician about an emergency battery back-up system. If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should develop an emergency plan that allows for alternative accommodations with family or friends.
- Keep a corded or cell phone on hand because a cordless telephone needs electricity to operate. Also, customers should learn how to manually open automated garage doors.
- Customers who depend on a well for drinking water need to plan ahead on how they will obtain water. Store containers of water for cooking and washing.
Widespread ice causes downed wires
Trevor Lauer, president and COO at DTE, said DTE officials started to prepare for the storm Thursday, sending a couple of hundred crews north of I-69, where the ice was largely supposed to hit.
"What's been different is the ice hit broadly across all of Southeast Michigan," Lauer said. "We're reacting to it right now as it's happening, but we did see it coming and we tried to do everything we could to be ready."
One Detroit family woke up to a massive tree on their porch. While it narrowly missed their roof, it did knock off their power.
"There was a "boom" but we didn't know the damage until we woke up. We called DTE, but they didn't know when it would be fixed," said Cutrenia Harrell.
Lauer said the conditions are making it difficult for repair crews, but they're focused on ensuring customers are safe.
"We have approximately 1,200 wires that have come down," Lauer said. "What happens with the ice is it gets on the trees, the tree branches get very heavy, and then they fall on the wires and on the poles."
There were about 1,000 wires down in Wayne County, including several in Detroit, Lauer said.
Lauer said Sunday it's difficult to make accurate power restoration estimates until the storm passes through.
"We've got to let the weather clear through our system and understand the sheer number of outages that we're going to deal with," Lauer said.
DTE said Monday morning it expects 90 percent of 250,000 customers still without power should expect it restored by the end of the day Tuesday.
DTE requested 400 additional resources from Ohio to come up and help with restoration on Monday.
"We'll get at this pretty strong, but we've got to let the weather clear before we can fully understand the restoration for all the customers," Lauer said.
DTE Energy outage map: Thousands of Metro Detroiters without power due to winter storm
Lauer said there are workers assessing the damage across the area, and asked customers to be patient during the process.
"Once we start the strong restoration activities, we can better understand how long it will take," Lauer said.
Wayne County among hardest-hit areas
The ice storm has caused damage across Southeast Michigan, but Lauer said Wayne County, especially Detroit, and up into the thumb were hit especially hard.
"It's really affected us from Wayne County the whole way up through the thumb," Lauer said. "We were surprised by the level of damage in Wanye County, the city of Detroit. Those are two areas where we didn't expect the icing. It was all supposed to hit north of I-69."
A downed power line in Warren lit 10 cars on fire at a used dealership. A viewer video captured huge flames and thick plumes of smoke.
Lauer said it's important for customers to stay away from downed wires and only use generators outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
DTE Energy will continue to update outage numbers as officials get more accurate information.