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Posted on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Thousands without power in Ann Arbor after outage caused by DTE work

By Kyle Feldscher


The DTE Outage Map showing the areas affected by the power outage Friday.

Courtesy of DTE Energy

Update: The DTE outage map showed much of the affected area had power restored as of 5 p.m. Friday. DTE officials confirmed the outage was fixed at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Thousands of people in Ann Arbor experienced a power outage Friday afternoon that was expected to last about an hour, according to DTE Energy.

Spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said approximately 3,000 people were without power due to an outage caused by work being done by the company.

“We moved some power from one circuit to another,” he said.

DTE’s outage map showed nearly 5,000 customers were without power, but that is an estimate.

Burns Park Elementary School was among places reportedly without power. Pioneer High School was also affected, said Ann Arbor schools spokeswoman Liz Margolis, but the power was back by 2:25 p.m. Numerous traffic lights south of Ann Arbor’s downtown were also reportedly affected.

Bodipo-Memba said the outage was separate from the long outages experienced by many customers in the wake of a winter storm that hit the area Tuesday. At the peak of problems, about 27,000 DTE customers lost power in Washtenaw County.

The remaining customers without power from that storm were able to turn the lights back on Friday.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

I just asked mine about power outages at Pioneer and she said nothing happened. Unless it was in certain parts of the building that do not affect the children. Otherwise, they would have sent them home very happy to have no classes. This was Thursday and Friday. Interesting.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

Our power was out on the NE side from approx 10 am to 10:30 am on Monday--a white UNMARKED truck was in our neighborhood. When approached to figure out what they were doing, they said power would be back in about 30 minutes. They were right but shouldn't that be communicated in some way? Shouldn't they be in clearly identifiable vehicles when working on (and/or disrupting) power? When the power suddenly cuts out for no reason (which triggered all the fire alarms in our house), we didn't know if it was just us, if it was a significant issue, etc. In asking around, the power was out in our neighborhood, local school (Clague) and as far as the U-M. No explanation provided.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

That white unmarked truck might have been the kind that enables DTE employees to go up to the power sources for the power lines. I may have seen them myself on Wednesday, mistaking them for professional tree cutters.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

If they got your power back in 30 minutes, I'd be inclined to cut that crew some slack.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Well said PineyWoodsGuy. Things could be SO MUCH worse. Living in the country, we invested in a large generator a year ago. At least I can have water, heat, lights, a refrigerator and other "necessities" if I lose power. Did I want to spend all that money on something that I shouldn't need to? No, but sometimes "stuff" happens. The piece of mind is well worth the investment.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Another smart meter success story. Just think how much faster DTE knows what they already knew. Your power is out! Smart can't fix stupid.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Maybe we can get funding from Cuba or Venezuela to fix our infrastructure.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Or anybody that doesn't have a third world electrical grid like Michigan's.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Or Sweden or Norway or Germany?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

The recent outages have us considering a whole house generator. DTE called on Thursday (recorded call) and said our outage was due to a failure in an underground vault at Plymouth Rd and Amanda Drive - an area that has been excavated by DTE (or a subcontractor) for 1/2 year or longer. I contacted DTE via email regarding this after getting the call, and they responded that our outage was due to an unknown cause. Interesting, after they called and told us the cause. They also promise a credit. I asked for further clarification.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

When we asked about credit for our power outage? The clerk told me if you are not getting power? Then you are not getting charged. I told her that was not funny. These clerks were so rude as well. DTE needs nicer people.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

That's why I long ago invested in an uninterruptable power supply for my home computer - you never know when DTE's work is going to put a swift end to your own valuable work. Now, I get 20 minutes of lead time to save and correctly shut everything down. $250 well spent.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:04 a.m.

In NE Ann Arbor I was "out" for 48 hours. Freezing my bun, took laptop to Big Boy, stayed overnight with Gfriend in south AA. But I am Not Complaining. The DTE guys did the best they could with what they had. Their work is Really Dangerous! Think about the victims of Tornados, or those in New Orleans or the NYC Hurricanes. Or the California Wild Fire. Or the sleeping guy crushed to death in a Tampa, Florida sink hole. Dudes, We got it easy. Stop yer Kevetching!!! Glad I live in Michigan!!!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

DTE sure knows how to run around there customers on the phone , give out a story when all power will be restored. Took them fourty two hours on mine.

Ann English

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

It took DTE only fourteen hours to restore power to me, but I got a recording call just the same on Friday. The purpose of the recording was just an opportunity to ask DTE questions, if there were any.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

My understanding is that many interruptions can be avoided by a smarter topology of the distribution network: instead of a unidirectional tree, where any single point failure causes a significant outage, loops that can be fed from either end should be used. For example, a distribution line that feeds many individual transformers, like the typical 13kV three-phase lines that you see everywhere and that are the main source of tree-related outages should run between two substations. So if it breaks somewhere, only a short piece right at the break is removed, and power is fed into into the line from both ends, keeping pretty much everyone online until the break can be fixed. That's apparently behind much of the reliability of Europe's networks, together with burying as many power lines underground as possible.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Every time you have a blip in your power, you should call DTE and make sure it is noted on your account. After s certain number of outtages, they are required by MPSC to provide a refund. Not much, but it does make a point.

Rick Stevens

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

That's called infrastructure and redundancy. DTE doesn't do those little things; it does profits. There are no customers, just shareholders and they are the ones who DTE seeks to please. Just try dealing with DTE about anything and you'll come to realize that pretty fast. Any and all outages are acts of nature and therefore not DTE's fault so no, that refrigerator and freezer of spoiled food? No, not our fault. Have a nice day. Click.

Jojo B

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

Between this and the UM power outage on Monday morning; what the heck is going on here? These incidents were NOT weather related.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

Typical DTE. Next to no customer service. Their service people don't care about your property, and will damage it at will. I wish the 5000 good luck. I recommend they file a complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission. You can file a complaint online.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

During the storm, we had a large branch fall across a cable to our house, making it sag ominously. Turned out not to be serious, but DTE was at our home within 3 or 4 hours after we reported it. Just sayin'.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

That purple dot out on Miller Ave has been fixed. A huge limb fell on a friend's garage and took out their power. She gets a new roof.