More than 260,000 DTE Energy customers were without power on Tuesday morning, a day after severe storms knocked down trees and power lines across the area on Monday afternoon and evening.
DTE Energy reported 250,000 customers in the dark as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, about 11% of the entire service area, a slight improvement from earlier in the day. DTE said 3,272 crews were in the field working to restore power.
“Our crews are securing the more than 3,300 downed power lines, assessing damage and beginning restoration. Crews from across the country are being brought in to assist in this effort,” DTE said.
DTE said on Monday that it expects to restore power to 80% of impacted households by the end of the day on Thursday.
Wind gusts in multiple areas topped 70 mph, which is near the strength of a weak tornado. In West Michigan, more than 150,000 Consumers Energy customers were without power. Several schools were closed due to outages in Metro Detroit.
Storms rolled through Michigan, Indiana and Ohio on Monday, but Michigan was by far the hardest hit for power outages. Indiana and Ohio had a combined 20,000 power outages, while Michigan, statewide, totaled more than 350,000. In the past, DTE has blamed trees.
All of this comes on the heels of DTE Energy’s proposed an 8.8% rate increase to raise $388 million for grid improvements. Many residents have pushed the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject the proposal.
Safety tips during a storm
- Stay at least 20 feet away from downed power lines and anything they are in contact with, including puddles of water and fences. Keep children and pets away too.
- Be extremely cautious near metal fences, which conduct electricity, following a severe storm. Electric current will be the strongest where a downed power line is touching a metal fence. Even a connecting fence several backyards away can be energized and dangerous.
- Never cross yellow barrier tape. It may be around downed power lines.
- Never drive across downed power lines. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside your car until emergency help arrives.
- A live power line may spark and whip around as it looks for a ground. A ground is the earth or something touching the earth, like a fence or a tree. A live wire that has found its ground may lie silently, but it is still dangerous. Report a downed power line online, on the DTE Energy Mobile App or call us immediately at 800-477-4747.
- Cable or telephone lines can be energized if they come in contact with electrical lines. Contact with any energized power line can be fatal.
- Never use a portable generator inside a home or business. It emits carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Keep it outside, away from windows and doors, so the fumes won’t come in.