Metro Detroit Struggles With Power Outages, Some Won't Be Restored Until Wednesday

The governor says infrastructure needs to be upgraded.

July 22, 2019 - 2:58 pm

(WWJ) Generators are out in full force Monday as DTE Energy continues working to get its customers back on the grid following a series of wild storms this weekend.

About 140,000 DTE customers were without power, as of a 9 p.m. update from the utility. That number is down from 390,000 at the outage's peak on Sunday.

Heather Rivard, Senior Vice Presidnet of Electric Distribution for DTE, says the company has called in out-of-state crews to help.

While Rivard said the should able to reconnect about 80 percent of affected customers by midnight Monday, DTE's own estimates find some might be in the dark until as late asWednesday or Thursday. 

"We are working as quickly and as safely as we can," Rivard said. 

Among those at work for DTE is Mark Slater, who started work at 6:30 a.m. Sunday and didn't finish his shift until 9:30 p.m. Worse than the long hours is "dealing with people who are upset, having had their power out for so long, and the heat of the day," he told WWJ's Charlie Langton.

Crews from New York and Georgia are helping out, too, all working 16-hour shifts until power is restored. Among the many outages are Royal Oak's City Hall and police station, Farmer's Market, and local downtown businesses including CVS and ACE Hardware.

Downriver, Lincoln Park was hit particularly hard, Langton reported. Thousands are still without power there, with generators buzzing everywhere

Eric Benes hasn't had power since Friday.  "It was crazy, man, we had to be  in the car with the AC on for the first day or so and then we had to get the generator going. Change the spark plug on it, change the oil. Get it going. Then we could hook it up to the house. But we got it going, though," Benes told Langton. 

Outside the metro area, Kent County, Bingham County, Gennessee, Saginaw, Bay City and areas all the way up to northern Michigan are without power, Consumer's Energy spokesperson Katie Carey told WWJ.

Check DTE's power outage map HERE to see who's out and when restoration will occur.

Customers in hard hit areas may not see power return until midday Wednesday, Carey said.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke live on WWJ about the power outages, saying it was an "intense and widespread storm that came through" and she commends the men and women working hard to restore power. It's also a reminder that infrastructure neyond the roads and bridges need to be upgraded.

"You know, everyone thinks about the roads and bridges, but we have to think about our electric and power grids as well so we've got reliability and resiliency, and that's something that we're analyzing, working with MPIC and our partners in the private sector to make sure when we have weather like this we've got the resiliency and reliability we need." 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today reminded Consumers Energy and DTE customers they may be eligible for a $25 credit if they were without power for more than 16 hours as a result of recent electric outages.  Credits are also available for repetitive interruptions if a customer experiences more than seven interruptions in a 12-month period. 

Online forms for Michigan’s two largest utilities – DTE and Consumers Energy – are available by clicking on these links:

DTE customer outage credit form

Consumers customer outage form