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Power Comes Back Slowly for 41,000 Detroit Residents After ‘Eighth Worst Storm’ in 111 Years

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After recent severe thunderstorms in Michigan, approximately 462,000 power company customers were left without power throughout the state, including at least 41,000 in Detroit.

Detroit’s DTE Energy Co. said that 41,000 of its residents were still without power days after the storm. Although that number was down from the initial 375,000 hit by the storms, the company still took several days to restore power for all residents.

The storm, which hit on September 5, saw winds of up to 75 mph — considered a tornado for the area. For DTE, it was the eighth worst storm in the past 111 years, in terms of how many of the company’s customers were affected, according to a DTE spokesperson.

In order to help residents regain power, the state called in more than 600 crews from Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York and Tennessee.

The average American spends around $700 annually on natural gas heating and cooling — and for those in the Midwest, heating bills can reach higher numbers in the cold months. With the upcoming winter, predicted by the Farmer’s Almanac to be “frigid” and “bitter,” Detroit customers will need reliable heating to brave the winter storms.

DTE and Consumers Energy, another Michigan company, prioritize repairs and restoration in similar ways. Hospitals, police, firefighter, governmental buildings, emergency dispatch centers and cellphone towers all receive repairs first, as these are considered essential services.

Because downed power lines pose a serious risk, these are also fixed before residential power is restored.

In Warren, authorities said a 42-year-old man was electrocuted after accidentally touching a live downed power line after the storm — and that was only one of 4,000 downed lines.

Once the emergencies have been taken care of, DTE restores sections of the grid with the largest number of customers.

DTE currently spends $750 million per year on maintenance in order to reduce the duration of the power outages.

That amount was increased by $100 million this year, $50 million of which has been spent to rebuild the distribution system for power. So far, just 300 of the 3,300 circuits powering the city have been rebuilt by DTE.

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