40,000 remain without power following Wednesday's storms

Posted at 3:06 PM, Mar 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 06:18:27-04

DTE Energy says about 40,000 people in metro Detroit remain without power following storms on Wednesday. Only 30,000 of those outages are from the original storm.

That's down from the more than 800,000 people who were without power on Wednesday night in what was the largest weather event in DTE's history.

The amount of people without power in the metro Detroit area continues to drop, but as snow piles up and temperatures remain low frustration remains.


“I can definitely understand their frustration and loss of patience,” said Senior VP of Distribution Operation Heather Rivard, when asked about those who remain without power. “It’d be very difficult to go an entire week, or several days, without power. The best I can say is that we are doing our best and we won’t stop until every customer is back.”

Rivard noted that the end stretch of restoration is often the most time consuming. When they first start working to get circuits back up and running they’re working in large blocks. At this point they’re now working on a large number of small patches of homes without power.

One of those neighborhoods is Livonia’s Hidden Pines. As snow piled up on Monday morning, neighbors were working to keep the streets clear while a handful of people were using chainsaws and a wood chippers to grind up trees that had fallen on homes.

John Kurzeja still has two large trees on his home. When he finishes his work outside he returns to a home without power. He’s been without for six days, but he said he’s not giving in.

“What am I going to do?” he asked, “You can’t cry. You just do the best you can to move forward.”

His can-do attitude is almost contagious in his neighborhood, a man down the street said he was simply grateful that his neighbor helped him out by lending him a generator. Without the help to heat his home he said he’d be dealing with broken water pipes, and a damaged home. Still, it’s hard to hide the frustration completely.

“It’s miserable,” said George Kovacs.

Kovacs looked around, pointed to his snowblower and the falling snow before adding, “and then this stuff came.”

According to DTE, they hope to have all 30,000 original outages restored by midnight tonight with the rest by midnight the following day.

The power company is describing the Wednesday storm that led to the mass outages as the worst the company has ever dealt with. High winds knocked down roughly 9,000 electrical wires.

At this time there are more than 1,000 crew members from out of state that have been working to restore power. The employees that have been brought in are working 16-hour shifts to restore power.

DTE does have a rebate program in effect for people who have gone without power for extended periods. You could be eligible for $25.