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'Every time it rains we just brace ourselves for the power going out.' Residents fed up over power problems

Mayor says they need results not rhetoric
Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 18:16:15-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — We’re getting a closer look at the problems facing one Southfield neighborhood where people have lost power 9 times since June.

'9 times since June!' DTE to survey cause of Southfield neighborhood's power outages that leave residents frustrated

Mayor Ken Siver tells 7 Action News he was calling DTE Energy after several power outages, “I did not get any return phone calls.”

Siver says that changed when several Oakland County Mayors did a Zoom meeting with DTE last week and DTE came out to meet with him.

The mayor showed us where trees were trimmed last week after the latest power outage. But the mayor says the trees are not cut far enough back, new trees growing had their tops cut off but are still growing into lower lines for telephone and cable TV and will eventually grow into the top power lines.

“So, I think I’ve gotten their attention. Now I want to know if they’re going to follow through,” Mayor Siver says.

“9 times this past summer we’ve lost power,” Allan Watson says.

And he wants DTE to come out and survey trees and infrastructure now.

“From my experience, DTE is impossible to deal with. They know how to get me my bill!” Watson says laughing.

D’Andre Farmer lives on Roxbury where the trees were trimmed last week. DTE has said they are spending an additional $70 million on tree trimming this year.

“Every time it rains, we’re bracing for the power to go out,” he says.

DTE will be back out in the Magnolia subdivision on October 21. The utility also says people are responsible for trimming trees near their own single service line that drops from the pole to their home.

DTE Energy also sent us this statement:

This summer, Michigan was pounded with back-to-back storms from June through September, including heavy rain and high winds, which caused severe damage to our electric infrastructure and caused thousands of our customers to lose power, including the Magnolia neighborhood in Southfield. On September 17, our Tree Trim team met with Mayor Siver and walked through several properties in the Magnolia neighborhood to assess the current state. Many of the concerns in this neighborhood are trees near service lines. Tree trimming near the service line is the responsibility of the property owner. Because service lines are live and dangerous, we recommend a professional tree trimming service perform the work.

This year we have made improvements to the infrastructure in Southfield including - upgrading and installing new poles and fiberglass crossarms, and trimming trees at 198 locations. This fall, we expect to trim nearly 200 more locations. Within the next 12 months, a significant amount of maintenance tree trim will be completed on the entire city.

We also have a go-and-see scheduled with Mayor Siver on Oct. 21, to further assess the problems in the community.

We know this is frustrating for many of our customers, especially those who have experienced multiple weather-related outages over the past few months. We’re committed to doing better for our customers. We have a short-term and a long-term strategy in place to improve the service our customers receive from us now and well into the future.

We believe that all customers impacted by last week’s storm have been restored. Today, we’re continuing to assess our infrastructure including visiting several sites to ensure that there are no additional issues.