DTE Predicts Widespread Power Outages As Ice Storm Hits

WWJ News
January 11, 2020 - 1:09 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - DTE Energy is anticipating widespread outages Saturday as an Ice Storm Warning is in effect in Livingston, Oakland and Lapper counties.

DTE spokesperson Rani Berris said crews are ready for potential power outages as temperatures drop through the afternoon and rain turns to ice.  

"If this heavy turns over to ice as we are all predicting, we could see significant power outages," she said. "If that happens, the ice will really cause significant damage to the energy grid. It will snap utility poles, it will bring down power lines."


Berris said ice is extremely heavy and can wreak havoc on power lines. 

"A half-inch of ice on a power line is equivalent to 500 pounds. That's like putting a baby grand piano between your utility poles," she said. "If the ice comes, there is a high potential for those lines to break and that damage is very challenging to repair. So, we want our customers to know in advance that if the power goes out, it may take us a little longer than normal to get it back on due to the extensive damage."

DTE has brought in 200 line workers from out of state to help local crews as outages arise.

"We've got crews already stationed strategically across southeast Michigan to respond to outages," said Berris. "We're worried about driving on the ice, too, so we want to make sure our crews and our equipment are in place early before it turns to ice. So, people may see some of our trucks sitting in parking lots and that just means they're waiting for the weather to turn and they're waiting for the outages to come."

In the event of an outage, those without power during cold weather should keep all doors to the outside shut. Towels can be used to block drafts coming in from window and door cracks.

Generators should be properly vented to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and gas stoves should not be used to warm houses.

If you encounter a downed power line, stay at least 25 feet away and avoiding making contact with anything the line is touching.