Farmington Hills mayor to file complaint over DTE outages

Mayor Vicki Barnett said Monday that she will file a formal complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) over frequent DTE Energy power outages across Farmington Hills.

Three major outages in July, all after storms with rain and high winds, left thousands of residents without power–some for days. Barnett said the complaint alleges DTE failed “to maintain the grid, upgrade the grid, and to provide sustained electrical power on an ongoing basis.”

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Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council

This isn’t the first time the city has challenged DTE over outages. In late 2019, DTE representatives talked about reliability during a city council meeting. Some customers, the company said, were seeing five to six outages per year, while others had none.

DTE Outage Map 72421
The last of three July outages following storms left more than 5,000 DTE customers without power.

A company representative said a new team of engineers and linemen would work in areas with “localized reliability issues.” The company also planned to replace a substation at 12 Mile and Drake that caught fire in 2016.

As far back as 2007, Barnett said, city officials called the company in to talk about clear weather outages, particularly in the 11 Mile and Drake Road area.

She also hopes the MPSC will change the remedy available when customers lose power more than two days.

“Right now, it’s a $25 credit, and that’s not sufficient,” Barnett said. “We have residents on oxygen and medication that needs to be refrigerated. When the power goes out, it can be a life-threatening situation.”

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