Do you ever wonder what causes so many power outages or how we prioritize service restoration for our 2.2 million customers across 7,600 square miles of service area?
At DTE Energy, we dedicate enormous planning, technology and people to be the dependable source of energy you need to keep the power on for your home and/or business. We are continuously updating our electric infrastructure, trimming trees and maintaining a rapid response team statewide. We are making a multi-million-dollar investment to minimize downtimes for all our customers.
If your digital clocks are flashing 12:00 or if your lights go out for a few seconds, a momentary outage has occurred. Momentary outages are often caused by some type of interference on power lines, such as an animal or tree branch coming in contact with the line.
Our power lines are protected with devices that work somewhat like circuit breakers in your home’s wiring. When an incident occurs, the devices isolate the problem, localizing an outage and preventing damage to the line. The device then performs a function similar to resetting a circuit breaker, safely restoring power to the line within moments.
Despite the inconvenience, these brief outages actually prevent more serious power problems.
Sustained outages are planned or accidental total losses of power in a localized area of the community. These types of outages usually last more than five minutes.
A sustained outage may be caused by storms, accidents or equipment damage. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary for us to intentionally interrupt service in order to safely perform equipment repairs and maintenance. We notify customers in advance of a planned interruption whenever possible.
If you use a generator during a sustained outage, please read our tips on Using a Generator Safely.
It is extremely important for our customers to report power outages to us. While we do have equipment installed on our power lines to indicate general areas without power, your reports help us pinpoint specific areas without power. We can then determine the full extent of the outage area, analyze weather conditions, crew availability, damage and other factors to prioritize your outage. Your report is then routed to our dispatch center, where it is assigned to a line crew for repair.
After you have reported your outage, you can get a restoration estimate online or by phone. Estimates may be revised if the problem is more severe than anticipated or we encounter additional problems.
During a major storm, our top priority is restoring power to hospitals, nursing care facilities, police and fire stations, communication facilities (radio and television stations), and sanitary pumping facilities. We then focus on restoring power to the remaining households and businesses, starting with electrical circuits where the largest numbers of customers are without power.
Our staff constantly monitors weather conditions, and when severe weather threatens, we mobilize our crews. By the time a severe storm arrives, our emergency team is already at work implementing a storm response plan. As soon as weather conditions permit us to safely begin restoration work, such as when the storm subsides, our crews assess the extent of the damage and begin restoration. If necessary, we call in line crews from other utility companies to help with restoration efforts.
Battery Backup Systems
If you use electrically-powered life-support
equipment, ask your doctor about
emergency battery backup systems.
Protect sensitive electronic equipment, such
as computers, televisions and other devices,
with surge protectors.
Make sure you know how to safely reset your
circuit breaker or change fuses. Keep extra
fuses on hand.
Access to Water
If a well is your source for water, plan ahead
to determine how you will get drinking water.
Store containers of water for cooking and
Know how to open your garage door
manually if it is equipped with an automatic
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers additional emergency preparation tips.
Keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy.
Unplug all motor-driven appliances (refrigerators and freezers), heat-producing appliances (stoves, curling irons, etc.) and sensitive electronic equipment (televisions, stereos and computers) to minimize the danger of fire and to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave one light on so you’ll know when power is restored.
Keep refrigerator, freezer and cooler doors closed as much as possible. If power will be out for a long time, contact a dry ice distributor. Find a local dry ice distributor in your phone book or online.