DTE: 100K restored, expect to have majority repaired by Friday

After Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning knocked more than 700,000 people in the dark, DTE said it quickly sent almost 2,000 crews out to repair power lines to restore electricity and expects to have the majority of those knocked offline back by Friday.

During a Thursday afternoon press conference, DTE President and CEO Jerry Norcia explained that the winds that knocked so many people off the grid carried winds of 60 to 75 MPH. This is the fifth storm of the year with winds that topped 60 MPH, Norcia said during the update.

At its peak, over 700,000 DTE customers were offline due to the strong winds from the thunderstorms that pushed through.

DTE Senior Vice President of Electric Distribution, Heather Rivard, also spoke and said that they had already restored power to 100,000 customers by 4 p.m. Thursday and expect another 50,000 to be back online by Thursday night.

As for the rest of the 583,000 customers without power, Rivard said the majority can expect to be online by Friday but more could stretch into Saturday. The worst case is that some people could be powerless until early next week.

She said that crews are fighting new outages from more thunderstorms and some outages caused by the heat. 

Rivard reminded people to stay away from power lines and to report them on DTE's website. 

Wednesday and Thursday's outage is just the latest in a long series of problems caused by weather this summer. 

"We've been investing heavily over the number of years (in tree trimming). We've seen twice the number of wind events than we've seen over the past decade," Norcias said.

DTE's focused on tree trimming over burying electricity cables underground due to cost. In a survey of 14,000 residents, the costs were in the hundreds of millions of dollars compared to the cost of tree trimming, which he said was an investment of $250,000.

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