DTE Power Outages in NW Ann Arbor

UPDATE 10/3/2016: At the DTE Open House on this issue earlier this year they had a handout showing their planned maintenance on the affected circuit. I’ve scanned that file and uploaded it.

UPDATE 7/30/2016: Since the initial post I’ve spent a lot more time on the phone with DTE. I’ve confirmed that since 7/26/2016 they’ve had crews in the area assessing the conditions of the equipment and going door-to-door. They have done some spot trimming and equipment upgrades, and the assessment is to help develop a plan to add new equipment, upgrade existing lines, and go through extensive tree trimming. As I understand, the program will be concluded by end of August, possible sooner.

I want to again apologize to everyone on the northwest side of town that has been experiencing too-frequent power outages.

[For those of you who haven’t heard about this, people in the Newport/Wines/Haisley area have had 6-8 outages or brownouts this year, even on days when there has been no storm activity].

I was on the phone a lot with Paul Ganz, the regional government relations representative for DTE, about the situation over the weekend trying to get better action on the issue.

DTE’s explanation of the outages has been that they have been tree limb-related. Many of us have been skeptical of that explanation, so I pressed Paul on it. He promised to send me the field notes from the outages this summer, and he did send along these photos of some of the trees growing in the power lines, so I am working to verify the stated cause of the problem, and I’ll keep you informed what else I find out.

For me, I find the tree limb story more credible as I see these photos where the wires are totally surrounded by trees.

In the meantime, Paul has committed to a large-scale “forensic” trimming of the trees in the area, load re-balancing, and I believe new substations as well. The message I got from him is that they would much rather get ahead of this and deal with it as a preventative maintenance issue than to keep paying weekend and evening overtime to deal with it as an outage. He has promised to get me additional details about timing and scope of that work, and I will pass that along as it becomes available.

Please be advised that when DTE conducts this trimming it will be drastic. They will be cutting down everything within 10 feet of the wires and doing additional work within their 30 foot utility easements. This won’t be pretty, but it’s better than the frequent outages you’ve been experiencing.

In addition, DTE has information about overhead lines and trees:

We’ll keep on this and try to get it resolved.