About Outages & Power Restoration (2024)

Do you ever wonder what causes so many power outages or how we prioritize service restoration for our 2.2 million customers across 7,600 square miles of service area?

About Outages & Power Restoration (1)

At DTE Energy, we dedicate enormous planning, technology and people to be the dependable source of energy you need to keep the power on for your home and/or business. We are continuously updating ourelectric infrastructure,trimming treesand maintaining a rapid response team statewide. We are making a multi-million-dollar investment to minimize downtimes for all our customers.

Types of Outages

Momentary Outages
If your digital clocks are flashing 12:00 or if your lights go out for a few seconds, a momentary outage has occurred. Momentary outages are often caused by some type of interference on power lines, such as an animal or tree branch coming in contact with the line.

Our power lines are protected with devices that work somewhat like circuit breakers in your home’s wiring. When an incident occurs, the devices isolate the problem, localizing an outage and preventing damage to the line. The device then performs a function similar to resetting a circuit breaker, safely restoring power to the line within moments.

Despite the inconvenience, these brief outages actually prevent more serious power problems.

Sustained Outages
Sustained outages are planned or accidental total losses of power in a localized area of the community. These types of outages usually last more than five minutes.

A sustained outage may be caused by storms, accidents or equipment damage. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary for us to intentionally interrupt service in order to safely perform equipment repairs and maintenance. We notify customers in advance of a planned interruption whenever possible.

If you use a generator during a sustained outage, please read our tips onUsing a Generator Safely.

View Outage and Power Problems FAQ

Our Power Restoration Process

It is extremely important for our customers to report power outages to us. While we do have equipment installed on our power lines to indicate general areas without power, your reports help us pinpoint specific areas without power. We can then determine the full extent of the outage area, analyze weather conditions, crew availability, damage and other factors to prioritize your outage. Your report is then routed to our dispatch center, where it is assigned to a line crew for repair.

After you have reported your outage, you can get a restoration estimate online or by phone. Estimates may be revised if the problem is more severe than anticipated or we encounter additional problems.

Restoration Efforts During Major Storms

During a major storm, our top priority is restoring power to hospitals, nursing care facilities, police and fire stations, communication facilities (radio and television stations), and sanitary pumping facilities. We then focus on restoring power to the remaining households and businesses, starting with electrical circuits where the largest numbers of customers are without power.

Our staff constantly monitors weather conditions, and when severe weather threatens, we mobilize our crews. By the time a severe storm arrives, our emergency team is already at work implementing a storm response plan. As soon as weather conditions permit us to safely begin restoration work, such as when the storm subsides, our crews assess the extent of the damage and begin restoration. If necessary, we call in line crews from other utility companies to help with restoration efforts.

Standard Restoration Sequence

Click to View

  1. High Voltage Transmission Lines
    Serving thousands of customers, these lines deliver power from the power plants to the substations. In the DTE Electric service area, these lines are maintained by the International Transmission Co. (ITC).
  2. DTE Electric Substation Equipment
    This equipment adjusts the electrical voltage so it can be routed to the main distribution lines.
  3. Main Distribution Lines
    These lines deliver power to large sub-divisions and businesses.
  4. Local Distribution Lines
    These lines route power to smaller neighborhoods and local businesses, either overhead (4A) or underground (4B).
  5. Service Lines
    These lines deliver power to individual customer locations either overhead or underground.

Preparing for a Power Outage

  • Assemble an emergency kit in advanceAbout Outages & Power Restoration (3)
  • Battery-powered radio or television (the news media will provide updates on when electricity will be restored)
  • Flashlights or battery-operated lanterns
  • Extra batteries
  • Candles with holders
  • Matches
  • Bottled water
  • Manual can opener
  • Nonperishable food
  • Disposable plates and utensils
  • Wind-up or battery-powered clock
  • Corded telephone (cordless phones don't work when the power goes out and your cell phone may not work if cell towers are affected)

Make a List of Emergency Phone Numbers

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy.
    Include DTE Energy's toll-free number,800.477.4747. Call this number and use our automated system to report power outages or downed power lines.
  • You may also report a power problemonlinefrom a location that has power or by using theDTE Energy Mobile Appto report an outage from your mobile device.

Other Emergency Preparation Tips

Battery Backup Systems
If you use electrically-powered life-support
equipment, ask your doctor about
emergency battery backup systems.

Surge Protectors
Protect sensitive electronic equipment, such
as computers, televisions and other devices,
with surge protectors.

Replacement Fuses
Make sure you know how to safely reset your
circuit breaker or change fuses. Keep extra
fuses on hand.

Access to Water
If a well is your source for water, plan ahead
to determine how you will get drinking water.
Store containers of water for cooking and

Garage Door
Know how to open your garage door
manually if it is equipped with an automatic

TheFederal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)offers additional emergency preparation tips.

During and Extended Power Outage

Keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy.
Unplug all motor-driven appliances (refrigerators and freezers), heat-producing appliances (stoves, curling irons, etc.) and sensitive electronic equipment (televisions, stereos and computers) to minimize the danger of fire and to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave one light on so you’ll know when power is restored.

Keep refrigerator, freezer and cooler doors closed as much as possible. If power will be out for a long time, contact a dry ice distributor. Find a local dry ice distributor in your phone book oronline.

About Outages & Power Restoration (2024)


About Outages & Power Restoration? ›

It's critical that you report your outage, either by calling 1-800-436-PSEG (7734) or logging into MyAccount. If the Outage Map indicates the outage in your area has been restored but you're still without power, it's critical to let us know. There could be additional damage affecting your service.

How do they restore power? ›

Power plants, the primary source of power production, are assessed for damage and restored. High-voltage transmission lines serving thousands of customers over wide areas are repaired. Substations are brought online in order for power to reach local distribution lines.

What to do after power is restored? ›

What to Do Once the Power Is Restored. When the power comes back on, wait a few minutes before plugging everything back in as you could encounter power surges. Turn on essential appliances first and then gradually turn on other electronics. Reset digital clocks, timers, alarms, network routers and other essential items ...

Can you flush the toilet when the power is out? ›

Depending on the amount of water remaining in the pipes, you might be able to flush your toilet several times while the power is out. Eventually, however, your tank won't fill up anymore because the pumps are down. When this happens, you will need to flush your toilet manually by pouring in a bucket of water.

Why does power take so long to restore? ›

A distribution fuse can take a few minutes to repair; a distribution transformer can take a couple of hours to replace; but widespread damage to the transmission system can take days, weeks, or even months to repair.

How to restore electricity at home? ›

In most cases, this will be located outside your home near your electric meter, but in older homes, you may find it inside. The main breaker will be the largest breaker in the panel. To reset the breaker be sure to flip to the OFF position, then to the ON position. A good rule of thumb is to repeat this step TWO times.

What does it mean when power is restored? ›

Restoration refers to the process of restarting the grid following a power cut and it is a requirement for us, as the system operator, to have a process in place in the event of a partial or total shut down.

Should I unplug the refrigerator during a power outage? ›

Televisions, computer equipment, game consoles, fans, lights and all other smaller appliances should be unplugged, especially if they were in use when the power went out. Larger appliances, such as refrigerators, should not be unplugged.

Should I unplug my TV during a power outage? ›

It's strongly recommended that expensive electronics be unplugged during an outage to protect them from power surges when electricity is restored, but for when you can't unplug, surge protectors will help prevent damage to electronics like computers and televisions.

Do I need to flip the breaker after a power outage? ›

Turning off power breakers has been a common practice for homeowners during a power outage. However, turning them off and on again plus repeatedly flipping the switch can cause an electrical hazard or at the very least, some damage. The best thing to do is to leave it as is during a power outage.

How long will food last in a fridge without power? ›

As the USDA notes in Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency, your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to 4 hours during a power outage. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers after 4 hours without power.

Can I shower during a power outage? ›

Can I Shower When the Power Is Out? To shower when the power is out, your home needs a traditional tank-style water heater. If that water heater still has hot water in reserve, then you can take a warm shower. If you plan to take a shower, you need to do it soon after the power goes out.

Why fill a bathtub with water during a power outage? ›

Fill the Tub

Your city water supply is likely to go down as soon as the power goes out. Therefore, you might experience a water shortage in your home. Also, natural disasters like flood might contaminate water, making it unsafe during a power outage. It would be wise to fill your bottles, buckets and tub with water.

How long do most power outages last? ›

Average Duration of Power Outages

On average, most technical or minor outages in the USA last about 1-2 hours. However, those caused by major natural disasters can extend for days or even weeks.

What is the surge when the power is restored? ›

Protecting your appliances: When power returns, there will be a surge of electrical energy that could damage sensitive equipment like computers, TVs, or VCRs. Unplugging them one by one, while leaving one light on, will let you know electricity has been restored.

What is the root cause of power outage? ›

However, the three most common causes are natural causes, human error, and overload. Basically, any interruption between power generation and the supply of electricity to homes can cause a power outage. It can stem from inclement weather conditions, human error, equipment failure, and even animal interference.

How do they repair power lines? ›

Crews are sent to remove damaged power lines from roadways first. After that, substation power is restored. Sometimes, service to hundreds or several thousand customers can be restored immediately by replacing a fuse on a substation transformer. Next, the major distribution feeders are repaired.

How do I restore power after a power cut? ›

Simply move any switches that have tripped and are pointing downwards into the upward position. This should turn your electricity supply back on. If the switches trip again immediately or you experience frequent power cuts, you likely have a faulty device or problem with your wiring.

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