The most significant weather event DTE Energy has experienced in its more than 100-year history. That's how the utility is characterizing Wednesday's windstorm.
The winds knocked down more than nine-thousand power lines resulting in more than 800,000 DTE customers losing power. As of five this morning, there are still 515-thousand without electricity. DTE has called in crews from six other states to help in restoration efforts and 90-percent of customers should back online by Sunday night. Consumers Energy had about 300-thousand of its customers affected. It says power should be fully restored sometime Sunday.
Here is the official DTE Energy press release, issued at 5am Friday morning:
DTE Energy Storm Update
Once in a century weather event
DTE Energy crews are out in force restoring power to our customers and protecting the public from fallen wires. Over the last 30 hours, DTE has restored power to more than 300,000 customers who lost power during the gale force winds that pounded the Southeast Michigan area for 12 hours on Wednesday. More than 800,000 DTE Energy customers were impacted and approximately 515,000 remain without power as of 5 a.m. Friday. This was the most significant weather event DTE Energy has experienced in its more than 100-year history.
DTE expects to have roughly 90 percent of customers restored by Sunday evening. DTE recognizes this event is difficult for customers and asks for your ongoing patience.
The outages are widespread across the region, with the hardest hit areas in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.
The high winds caused extensive tree damage, resulting in more than 9,000 reported downed power lines. Due to the unusually warm weather this winter, as well as significant rainfall, the ground is very soft and saturated. That, combined with the high winds, caused trees to uproot, falling onto DTE’s poles and power lines.
Public safety is our first priority, so we remain focused on securing wires down throughout the community as new reports continue to come in.
DTE Energy crews include more than 1,800 linemen and 700 contractors and workers from other states. They are focused on restoration efforts around the clock. DTE also has 700 tree trimmers working.
Safety is always a priority. Customers should stay at least 20 feet away from all power lines and anything they may contact, and consider them live. They are extremely dangerous. Treat every downed power line as if it is energized. Customers should also heed the warning of yellow caution tape, which indicates there is a downed power line in the area. DO NOT CROSS YELLOW CAUTION TAPE.
Customers have three ways to contact DTE during an outage. Customers can report an outage, check on the status of an outage and view an outage map from their smart phones using the DTE Energy Mobile App, which is available free of charge from the Apple Store or Google Play. DTE encourages customers to use the website at dteenergy.com as well. Customers can also call DTE at 800-477-4747 to report power outages or downed lines.
· Never drive across a downed power line. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.
· Always operate generators outdoors to avoid dangerous buildup of toxic fumes.
· Turn off or unplug all appliances to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave one light switch on to indicate when power is restored.
· Don’t open refrigerators or freezers more than absolutely necessary. A closed refrigerator will stay cold for 12 hours. Kept closed, a well-filled freezer will preserve food for two days.
· If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should try to make alternative accommodations with family or friends.