DTE Electric agrees to improve storm response, wire down safety

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today approved an agreement with DTE Electric Co. that outlines efforts by the utility to bolster emergency storm response and fund public education and training about the hazards of downed electrical lines.DTE Energy

The agreement between the MPSC staff and DTE Electric (Case No. U-20169) concludes the Commission’s review of DTE’s response last spring to widespread weather-related outages.

Under the agreement, DTE Electric will:

  • Provide additional first responders to meet response times established in the Commission’s Administrative Rules.
  • Participate in an MPSC initiative to improve downed wire response processes.
  • Track the cause of downed power lines.
  • Provide $725,000 through 2020 to develop a program with the National Energy Foundation to educate kindergarten through fifth grade students on electricity hazards.
  • Provide $175,000 this year to the Michigan Fire Service Instructors Association to buy electrical safety equipment and train local fire departments.
  • Work to eliminate rear-lot power line hazards in Detroit.
  • Not recover program costs through customer rates.
  • The company will also report annually to the Commission on improvements in wire down response times, causes of downed power lines, how many students take part in the education program, actions to secure downed wires, progress in reducing the backlog of distribution system maintenance, and efforts to address rear-lot overhead wires.

The MPSC initiated this proceeding in May after concerns about the safety and reliability of the company’s electric distribution system following storms in March 2017 and May 2018. After the May storm, a woman came in contact with a live downed wire at the rear of a Detroit property, resulting in her death. The Commission’s proceeding examined the utility’s response to the storm and changes to improve safety.

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