DTE apologizes to Belleville family experiencing frequent power outages

Posted at 5:45 AM, Sep 30, 2020

BELLEVILLE, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Belleville resident reached out to 7 Action News concerned about what she describes as frequent power outages.

She lives on Potter Drive near Huron River Drive.

Jen Cousino says there have a number of outages in the area. She adds not everyone can afford a generator nor should they have to frequently rely on one.

After calling DTE, the company confirmed with 7 Action News reporter Darren Cunningham, they there is indeed a problem.

“I just don’t want to be sitting here in the middle of winter with no power again," said Cousino.

She says a series of power outages in the Belleville area has made living in her home a bit of a hassle.

The outages have been happening "on and off definitely for at least the last three years," according to the homeowner.

“We’ve had power outages at least 10 times in this year alone. I have people over here with little kids, I have elderly that have medical issues and may need to be on oxygen and oxygen runs with electricity.”

She says DTE energy provided this list of dates of outages and says she's been told interfering trees are the problem and it's being addressed.

“I just feel like the tree trimming service bit that they’re doing is just a band-aid," said Cousino.

"The Belleville area has been, in the last two years, experiencing more outages than is typical for our system," said Joe Musallam, DTE Director of Regional Customer Operations. "I'd like to myself, apologize to the residents of Belleville. I did talk to several of the customers on the circuit."

Musallam says about two-thirds of the outages are caused by thick and overgrown tree conditions. And that there's also been equipment failures largely due to storms.

But he says there is a plan – already in motion – to fix the problems for about 2,800 customers on the circuit.

"They'll start seeing lots of DTE trucks. And they'll also start seeing lots of our tree trimming crews," said Musallam. "The tree trimming crews, a lot of times will go out and pre-cut the area so that the construction crews can come out and hang the wire, put new transformers up, change the insulators or whatever we thinks going on. The good news is they should see a big difference in their reliability."

DTE says the real improvement should come next year when they go through with their full maintenance trim cycle. One of the challenges is working with homeowners on cutting trees, with 140 tree trim locations.