DTE: About 7,600 Still Without Power Across Metro Detroit After Tuesday's Storms

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WWJ -- Thousands of DTE Energy customers were still without power Wednesday night after severe thunderstorms moved through metro Detroit Tuesday night.

As of 9 p.m., about 7,600 homes and businesses were still in the dark, DTE said. The severe weather caused extensive tree damage across southeast Michigan on Tuesday, bringing down more than 400 power lines and impacting nearly 80,000 customers. DTE said more than 69,000 customers had power restored -- about 90% of those affected.

Officials said they hoped to restore power across the board before midnight, but the DTE outage map had several locations estimated to be restored by 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The largest remaining outage on the map appeared to be between Detroit and Dearborn, with about 900 customers south of US 12 and east of Central Street still affected.

With temperatures reaching into the mid-to-high 80s on Wednesday, many metro Detroiters were left to sweat it out as they get ready for the 4th of July holiday weekend. DTE apologized for the inconvenience and offered tips for dealing with power outages.

"We understand how difficult it is to be without power during hot temperatures, and we apologize for any inconvenience these outages may cause our customers," the utility said in a statement. "As our crews work to clear damage and restore power to those who are still affected, we ask that our customers look out for – and check up on – family members, neighbors and friends who may be vulnerable during extreme temperatures."

DTE crews are working 16-hour shifts to restore power, the utility said. They will continue to do so, through the holiday, if needed, until power is restored.

In terms of safety, DTE says customers should stay at least 20 feet away from all power lines and anything they’re in contact with, and consider them live. They are extremely dangerous. Treat every downed power line as if it were energized. Customers should also heed the warning of yellow caution tape, which indicates there is a downed power line in the area. 

Never use a portable generator inside a home or business. It emits carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Keep it outside, away from windows and doors, so the fumes won’t come in.

Storm tips:   
  • Never drive across a downed power line. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives. 
  • Always operate generators outdoors to avoid dangerous buildup of toxic fumes.  
  • Don’t open refrigerators or freezers more often than absolutely necessary. A closed refrigerator will stay cold for 12 hours. Kept closed, a well-filled freezer will preserve food for two days.   
  • Turn off or unplug all appliances to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave on one light switch to indicate when power is restored.  
  • If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should try to make alternative accommodations with family or friends. 
  • During low-voltage conditions – when lights are dim and television pictures are smaller – shut off motor-driven appliances such as refrigerators to prevent overheating and possible damage. Sensitive electronic devices also should be unplugged.  
  • Stay out of flooded or damp basements or other areas if water is in contact with outlets or any electrically-operated appliance. The water or moisture may serve as a conductor of electricity. This can cause serious or even fatal injury.  
  • Assemble an emergency kit. It should include a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and candles, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, bottled water and non-perishable food. 
  • Customers who depend on electrically powered medical equipment should ask their physician about an emergency battery back-up system. If a customer is elderly or has a medical condition that would be adversely impacted by a power outage, they should develop an emergency plan that allows for alternative accommodations with family or friends.  
  • Keep a corded or cell phone on hand because a cordless telephone needs electricity to operate. Also, customers should learn how to manually open automated garage doors.