Ferndale and Hazel Park to Get New DTE Substation

Ferndale and Hazel Park to Get New DTE Substationwaterwork

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 24, 2014)

 

In Ferndale when it gets hot or starts storming, people know that it’s time to plug in their phones and have their flashlights handy “just in case.” Aging electrical infrastructure, increased demand from electronics and air conditioners, the plentiful amount of trees with potentially meddlesome branches, and an increase in less than ideal weather all have led to more frequent power outages in the area. It’s also meant the potential for days-long periods with electricity, as the community saw back in 2011.

The three-day outage timed with intense heat and significant business losses. Those who were there may remember the smell of streets lined with trash bins of rotting food from all the emptied out fridges and Rudy Serra campaign adfreezers, or the way people gathered at the community center just to escape the intense heat.

Residents, business owners and city officials took DTE to task, calling them before City Council demanding answers and action.

DTE representatives promised action and said they were looking into building a new substation in the area. Those promises are coming back to the public on Monday, with a proposal before City Council to approve special land use for a brand new substation to be built near 9 Mile and Hilton.

DTE has acquired 1550 Hilton, which is a triangle-shaped wedge of land that runs along the railroad tracksJudy_Palmer30years leading into the railroad yard. The most narrow point is where the property meets Hilton Road, just north of where the train tracks cross Hilton near Saratoga. Currently the property is home to a small concrete building at the back, and a field where bunny rabbits play.

Mayor Dave Coulter said he is happy that DTE responded to the City’s request. He explained that a new substation would not mean that there would be no more outages, but it would give DTE more options for managing them, and that it could reduce the size of the area where homes lose power.

Currently Ferndale has two substations. One on W. Nine Mile serves mainly Ferndale, and on E. Nine Mile serves Hazel Park and Ferndale. The new one, if approved by Council on Monday, will serve both cities as well.

“This is a good location for the substation,” Coulter said. “It’s an industrial area away from homes so it seed14_chad_mattshould not cause an issue.” The land was purchased by DTE from a private owner, but the plans have gone through the Planning Commission. A 12 foot concrete wall would provide some screening of the completed project.

Coulter said that it could take a couple of years before the new substation is up and running. “These are very complicated buildings so it’s not going to be quick,” he said. “But we are glad to see the construction get underway. I applaud DTE for responding to the needs of the community and finding what I hope will be a good solution.”

Council is likely to approve the land use at Monday night’s City Council meeting, which starts at 7pm at Ferndale City Hall.

More information can be downloaded at http://oaklandcounty115.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/8B._DTE_Substation.pdf.

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