(DTE, March 8, 2017)
Oakland County, MI – As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, DTE Energy has nearly 500,000 customers without power due to severe winds blowing through its Southeast Michigan service territory. The outages are widespread across the region, with the hardest hit areas in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.
At times, winds have gusted up to 60 mph, causing extensive tree damage, resulting in more than 2,000 downed wires so far. The priority of our crews is to first eliminate downed wires to ensure the safety of the public. Restoration estimates are currently unavailable until the weather has passed. DTE expects to have restoration estimates tomorrow.
The winds are forecast to continue until 7 – 8 p.m. tonight and additional outages are expected. Due to the unusually warm weather this winter, as well as significant rainfall, the ground is very soft and saturated. This is causing trees to uproot in the high winds, damaging our power lines.
DTE crews will be working 16-hour shifts around the clock to restore power, and additional crews from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Pennsylvania will be in Michigan on Thursday morning to assist.
Safety is always a priority. Customers should stay at least 20 feet away from all power lines and anything they may contact, and consider them live. They are extremely dangerous. Treat every downed power line as if it is energized. Customers should also heed the warning of yellow caution tape, which indicates there is a downed power line in the area. DO NOT CROSS YELLOW CAUTION TAPE.
Customers have three convenient ways to contact DTE during an outage. Customers can report an outage, check on the status of an outage and view an outage map from their smart phones using the DTE Energy Mobile App, which is available free of charge from the Apple Store or Google Play. DTE encourages customers to use the website at dteenergy.com as well. Customers can also call DTE at 800-477-4747 to report power outages or downed lines.
~Never drive across a downed power line. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.
~Turn off or unplug all appliances to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave one light switch on to indicate when power is restored.
~Don’t open refrigerators or freezers more than absolutely necessary. A closed refrigerator will stay cold for 12 hours. Kept closed, a well-filled freezer will preserve food for two days.
~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.
For customers of Consumers Energy, check https://www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap for the latest information.