DTE Official Explains Planned Power Shutdown
Vice President Vincent Dow tells why the majority of consumers in Ferndale will lose service at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Ferndale residents were reporting mass power outages starting at 1 a.m. Saturday morning, well ahead of DTE Energy's planned 2:30 a.m. shutdown to make repairs to the West Nine Mile and Dover substation.
DTE Energy's Vice President of Distribution Vincent Dow held a press conference at 9 p.m. Friday at the substation in Ferndale to explain why the company would cut power to the majority of the homes and businesses early Saturday.
"The majority of Ferndale will be cut at 2:30 a.m.," he said.
DTE estimated about 5,500 customers will be cut off at 2:30 a.m. on top of the 800 that currently without power in Ferndale.
"Basically, what happened (Thursday) night will happen tonight at 2:30 a.m.," Coulter said.
Dow said DTE must shut down the substation to repair it. The main issue is a malfunctioned underground cable that pumps the transformers in the substation with voltage.
Earlier Friday afternoon, DTE began attempting to locate the trouble spot in the cable; it was pinpointed in the early evening. "It's at Main Street and Harrison in Royal Oak," Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter said.
On Thursday, at approximately 11:30 p.m., the substation went down and about 6,000 homes and businesses in Ferndale lost power. Crews worked all night and by the morning about 2,000 customers were still without power in Ferndale.
The shutdown boundaries run from Marshall north to 10 Mile and from Rosewood (in Oak Park) east to Woodward Avenue, DTE spokesman Len Singer said. A couple blocks east of Woodward also could be affected.
The early morning time was chosen to minimize the affect on the businesses downtown, Coulter said.
The work is expected to take six hours, Dow said. However, when that work is completed, not all of the power will be restored to Ferndale.
Dow said the 800 customers who were without power at 9 p.m. will be without power throughout Saturday and into early Sunday morning.
DTE must fix the cable before the company can begin working on other issues in the substation, Dow said. Once the cable is repaired, at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Dow said DTE will be able to get to work on restoring service to the remaining 800 customers.
"We'll work on that all day (Saturday) and look to have it all online by early Sunday morning," he said.
Dow said the southwest side of Ferndale – known as "The Dales" because most of the streets in the area end in "dale" – isn't expected to lose power at all throughout the night. However, reports from residents living in "The Dales" indicate they were experiencing brownouts with barely enough electricity to power TVs and refrigerators.
Power in Ferndale would be fully restored starting around 11:30 p.m. until the outage at 2:30 a.m., Dow said Friday. As of midnight, residents without power still were reporting outages.
Dow asked residents to cut back on energy consumption over the weekend, which could give the system some relief.
"Pull out phone chargers, don't run the dishwasher or wash your clothes during the day, keep your blinds closed and turn back your air conditioning a few levels," Dow advised.
Several residents showed up to the West Nine Mile substation to listen to what Dow had to say.
"It was a little bit vague," resident Derek Pratley said.
Husband and wife Josh and Jennifer Howard came out to ask Dow about the $25 credit DTE is offering if a customer experiences prolonged outages. The Howards live on West Maplehurst and lost power Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when the problem first began. They were without power for approximately 36 hours.
"Luckily, we haven't lost any food," Josh Howard said.
During the 2:30 a.m. Saturday outage, the city is making preparations to keep the police department and dispatch running without a hiccup, Coulter said. The Gerry Kulick Community Center, which is operating as a cooling center, is scheduled for a power shutdown but DTE will bring in a generator to keep the power going there.
Ferndale Police Chief Tim Collins said the department also is putting out extra patrols to watch over the city during the outage.