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DTE addresses restoration estimates as some ask when will all of Southeast MI have their power back

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jun 21, 2024

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — As the heatwave continues Friday, thousands of people across Southeast Michigan are still without power following Wednesday's storm.

Some have been sent messages from DTE saying their power is back when it's not, and others have said they were told their power will come back one day, then it gets pushed to the next.

All of this comes as we are having day after day of sweltering heat in Southeast Michigan with 90-degree days.

In Beverly Hills, we met homeowner Gerrit Littrup, who told us, "My wife’s aunt has a generator we were able to hook up and we got that running."

He said the generator's name is Betsy the Beast and that his wife's aunt used it during Hurricane Charley in 2004. Now his family is using it to stay cool after the Beverly Hills downburst of 2024.

Littrup's neighbor Frank Lafata told us, "It gets really hot upstairs, so we find ways to get outside and play with the water table for my daughter."

The two men are among the 85,000-some customers who lost power Wednesday evening.

Lafata said within an hour of the storm hitting, they had an estimate from DTE for when their power would be restored.

"It was supposed to be last night, we were supposed to have power back," said Lafata. "At this point, we’re kind of jokingly taking bets. We’re thinking Sunday. It’s hard to get an accurate estimate within an hour. Drive down the street, it looks like a war zone."

Our team asked Jerry Tullio, manager of Regional Customer Operations for DTE, how they put their outage restoration estimates together.

He said, "When the weather hit, we make an assessment based off what we believe is going on. Upon further investigation, we found that the damage was much worse than what we initially anticipated."

Tullio said DTE currently has over 100 crews and 1,100 linemen out working to get the power back up.

He said they estimate most people in Beverly Hills, Royal Oak, Birmingham and Mount Clemens will have power by the end of Friday.

Friday afternoon, our team did point out to Tullio that many of the homes appear to still have large trees resting on wires.

We asked if he thought all of that could be cleaned up with power restored by that night.

"Yup," said Tullio. "Due to extreme damage, there is a chance someone may go into Saturday, but we’re doing everything we can to work as safely and as efficiently as possible to get everyone back tonight."

At the time of publishing this article Friday evening, some are still without power.

Tullio said crews are working in 16-hour shifts to change that.

Their hard work is just one thing both Lafata and Littrup told us they have a newfound appreciation for this week. The other being working AC.