DTE Open House set to quell customer complaints

Oct. 18, 2017  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News



Don Howard

Staff Writer

DTE Energy will attempt to address hundreds of service complaints from angry customers in the Plymouth community during an open house for area residents next week.

According to residents, continued power outages that have plagued both the city and township for the almost a year accelerated after a severe windstorm last March when nearly 3,200 customers and business were left in the dark for days.

In July, area residents suffered five power outages in the first 11 days, including one the Fourth of July. Township Supervisor Kurt Heise and Trustee Jack Dempsey, a former utility attorney, met with DTE personnel in an attempt to solve the problem without filing a complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission.

DTE representatives told officials of their plans to “…improve service with system upgrades,” and set a goal for work to be completed by September. To appease customers, DTE mapped out “hot spots” and said the need for infrastructure improvements were obvious. They announced increased tree trimming along the power lines and the installation of new equipment. Work was said to be “on schedule” by a DTE spokesperson.

In the interim period, the outages continued and complaints mounted. Residents, city commissioners and township trustees questioned whether DTE was just patching an old infrastructure with a “bigger patch.”

An explosion and transformer fire of unknown origin Aug. 16 destroyed one to two DTE substations that serve the Plymouth area and left more than 4,000 city residents and business without power for nearly three days. After the fire, DTE Executive Director of Operations Ryan Stowe said the substation must be totally rebuilt and described the grid and related systems as “older and dying.” Later at a Plymouth City Commission meeting Stowe said trees caused 70 percent of power outages. Stowe hinted that DTE was considering a complete rebuild of the Farmer Street substation in the future.

On Sept. 13, a failed temporary generator at the Farmer Street sub-station was blamed for the outage that cut power throughout Plymouth for hours.

Last week another outage again cut off area customers. DTE service personnel claimed the problem was caused by faulty equipment at the Ridge Road and Powell sub-station.

The open house for area residents will take place from 3:30 until 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct . 23, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 14600 North Sheldon Road in Plymouth.


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