DTE power outage is worst in company history due to high winds

High winds hit southeastern Michigan on Wednesday, March 8 2017. As a result, many DTE customers lost power. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but DTE’s estimate is that about 800,000 customers were affected, making this the worst storm in company history.

Even before the peak of the storm, the DTE infrastructure for notifying customers of outage status and gathering incident information from its customers failed. DTE’s web site was down for the better part of Wednesdsay, and when it came back up it only had the bare minimum of information, with no outage restoration times available and no public-facing map detail of outages.

The tendency for utility companies to get caught flat-footed when extraordinary events tax their infrastructure is sadly all too common. Only four years ago a major ice storm hit DTE, with similar chaos in restoration.

If you are looking for a broad overall picture of the DTE outage situation, the best source for news is the DTE Twitter account, and the best map regularly available is their old outage by zip product at http://www.dteenergy.com/map/zipCodeOutageMap.pdf updated every 30 minutes. Fine grained details about individual outages are not available Thursday afternoon, but DTE is estimating that 90% of customers will be restored by Sunday.

Here at home we were lucky with only a few blips. The big branches in front of the house that would have certainly come crashing down in this storm had been trimmed by the city a few months previous.