For a fourth time in about a month, thousands of Farmington area residents are without power after a thunderstorm moved through southeast Michigan Wednesday afternoon.
Coincidentally, the lights went out around the time seven Farmington residents shared their July outage stories at a Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) meeting in Lansing.
10,000-plus without power
By late afternoon, more than 10,000 local DTE customers had lost power, most east and west of Drake Road, from I-696 to just south of Grand River. From there, the line jogs east along Grand River to another swath between Gill and Orchard Lake Roads that extends south to Seven Mile Road in Livonia.
DTE reported more than 413,000 customers without power by late Wednesday afternoon. The company had 415 crews in the field by 6:30 p.m., but restoration times for local outages remained unavailable.
(To report an outage or downed power line, visit outage.dteenergy.com, use the DTE Energy Mobile app, or call 800-477-4747. Always consider downed lines live. Stay at least 20 feet away from them and any items they touch.)
Residents want answers
Farmington mayor pro tem Joe LaRussa said 18 residents submitted comments for the August 11 MPSC meeting. Some sent letters, and one spoke remotely during the meeting.
“The commissioners were very impressed,” he said. “They told us it was the largest turnout for public comment they’d ever had.”
LaRussa said he suggested the Lansing trip when residents asked whether the city could do anything about DTE’s service issues. The regulatory agency mission is to ensure the public has “safe, reliable, and accessible energy and telecommunications services at reasonable rates.”
LaRussa said residents shared personal stories, while he and council member Maria Taylor talked about the economic impact downtown and the city’s hardest hit areas. His own neighborhood, for example, has experienced 17 outages in the past five years.
‘Settle in for the marathon’
Commissioners and invited DTE representatives “recalibrated our expectations”, LaRussa said. Residents learned it can take years to get changes approved, but some are in the works.
DTE representatives said they plan to meet with Farmington and Farmington Hills city staff to talk about tree trimming and other issues. LaRussa said residents should not expect quick remedies.
“I think we really need to settle in for a marathon,” he added.
In the meantime, residents should continue to file complaints with DTE and apply for the $25 credit allowed under these conditions:
- an outage of more than 120 hours under catastrophic conditions (an event that results in an official state of emergency or an event that results in an interruption of 10 percent or more of the utility’s customers)
- an outage of more than 16 hours under non-catastrophic conditions.
- eight or more outages during a 12-month period
“It’s vitally important that the public continue to be vocal and continue to avail themselves of the channels available to them, because that’s how we’re going to get priority and substantive action from the utility providers,” LaRussa said.