Monday, July 25, 2011


After several conference calls with DTE Energy during last week's power outage that affected as many as 6,000 Ferndale homes and businesses, Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter requested a representative from the utility come to a City Council meeting and explain to the city's customers what exactly happened.
The outage began about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and lasted through 6 a.m. Saturday during a weeklong heat wave that put a strain on the region's power system.
"After a series of (calls) with DTE over our blackout, I talked about communication and asked them to send someone to Monday's council meeting to explain to the residents what happened," Coulter said.
DTE Energy has said the outage was heat related. After several days of 90-plus degree weather, DTE said one of the two transformers at the West Nine Mile and Dover substation faltered. During this malfunction, DTE attempted to shift the power from the first transformer to the second. The stress from the new workload proved to be too much, according to DTE, and the cable that brought the electricity into the substation blew.
DTE then had to shut down the substation, cutting power to about 6,000 homes and businesses in Ferndale at 2:30 a.m. Saturday to repair the cable.
By 6 a.m. Sunday, DTE said the cable had been repaired and power was fully restored to Ferndale. In an unrelated incident, DTE said, a wire fell from a transformer in southwest Ferndale later Sunday evening and about 200 homes were subject to power outages and brownouts.
Coulter said he wants to get two things from DTE: "I want a full explanation of when went wrong," he said. "Then I want to hear how to prevent it in the future."
Tonight's meeting with DTE is the first step, Coulter said. "I expect to get the first part," he said. "But I expect DTE to work with us to prevent this in the future."
DTE will provide a written report of what happened during the outage, he said.
The DTE representative will present a presentation of the incident at the beginning of the meeting. Coulter has asked the representative to stay to answer any specific questions residents and businesses may have. "It won't be a debate," Coulter said. "But if (residents) have a specific question, like a rebate on a bill, I've asked DTE to address those."
The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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