DTE shuts down illegal electrical hookup on Detroit's west side

Posted at 6:13 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 18:13:00-04

A Detroit resident worried her property could got up in blames because of a neighbor’s illegal electrical hook-up.

Mary Chilcutt has created an oasis in her backyard.  She has a pretty patio and a pool. It’s perfecting for entertaining. However, she can’t build a fence high enough to escape what’s going on next door. The problem started with out of control trees and weeds, which attracted rodents. Then she noticed sparking wires. Worried, she called DTE, which led to the discovery of an illegal electrical hook-up.

“It’s a hazard.  It really is and if something happens, I am going to be the one who has to pay for it.” said Chilcutt.

7 Action News reached out to the Detroit Police Department. Sgt. Rebecca McKay, who is in charge of the city’s illegal scrapping, dumping and graffiti task force arrived along with a DTE inspector. Concerned about the fire hazard, a crew was called to disconnect the illegal power. This isn’t the first time DTE has been called to the address.

 “DTE has discovered illegal utilities here on several occasions.” said McKay.

Mary Cash lives at the home with the illegal connection. At first the 60-year old told Action News she wasn’t aware of the illegal electrical hook-up, but later changed her story. Cash said she was on a limited income and couldn’t afford to pay for electricity.  

7 Action News reached out to the Area Agency on Aging, which sent an employee out to talk with Cash about getting her assistance.

The property, which was once owned by Cash, is now owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. Late this afternoon, a crew came out to clear away the overgrown trees and weeds. The land bank is also working with Cash to keep her in the home.

Stealing utilities is a crime.  You can report a suspicious illegal electrical connection thru the City of Detroit’s tip line at 313-235-4359 or by emailing