DTE announces an additional $70 million investment to combat extreme weather-related power outages

Detroit, Sept. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DTE Energy today announced an incremental $70 million investment to combat extreme weather-related power outages. The plan will direct additional funds to remove trees and trim branches away from power lines. Trees are responsible for almost all of the time DTE customers are without power during extreme high wind events.  In areas where tree trimming has been completed, communities have experienced, on average, 60% fewer outages. The $70 million is on top of the $190 million DTE currently spends on tree trimming every year. The investment will not impact customers’ bills.

The DTE service area experienced five tornadoes this summer and eight storms with tropical force wind gusts of 39 to 74 miles per hour. High winds and extreme moisture in the ground uprooted trees which pulled down wires and poles.  For example, DTE crews replaced 450 broken poles resulting from the Aug. 11 catastrophic storm that caused more than 500,000 customers to lose power. 

“We tripled our tree trimming effort and doubled our infrastructure upgrades several years ago when we began to see more severe weather patterns. But the extreme weather we experienced this summer – nine hard hitting, severe storms in nine weeks – is something we have never experienced,” said DTE President and CEO Jerry Norcia.  “That’s why we made the decision to invest even more now, directing an additional $70 million into tree trimming to combat the large and recurring outages that have been so challenging for our customers. We will do what it takes to protect Michiganders from power outages caused by catastrophic storms and extreme weather patterns.”

The plan, which adds $70 million to DTE’s annual $190 million tree trimming program, was filed yesterday with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

DTE is committing to:

  • Accelerating tree trimming work for the hardest hit communities
  • Providing incremental funds to trim an additional 3,500 miles
  • Increasing the tree trimming workforce from 1,200 tree trimmers to 1,500
  • Increasing line crews working to make the system more resilient, -- from 850 line workers to 1,050

DTE has been trimming trees to an enhanced standard since 2016. An accelerated Enhanced Tree Trimming Program was approved by the MPSC in 2019, bringing more focus and resources to reduce tree-related outages. Since 2016, DTE has trimmed nearly 20,000 miles, nearly the distance around the world.

More information about DTE’s tree trim program can be found here.

DTE tree trimming B-roll can be found here.

About DTE Energy

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric company serving 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas company serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE portfolio includes energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, renewable natural gas, and energy marketing and trading. As an environmental leader, DTE utility operations will reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions by more than 80% by 2040 to produce cleaner energy while keeping it safe, reliable and affordable. DTE Electric and Gas aspire to achieve net zero carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. DTE is committed to serving with its energy through volunteerism, education and employment initiatives, philanthropy and economic progress. Information about DTE is available at dteenergy.comempoweringmichigan.comtwitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

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Pete Ternes
DTE Energy
313.235.5555
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