DTE Energy engaged thousands of upgrades, installations in 2020 to boost reliability

Published on February 24, 2021 by Chris Galford

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A new report from Michigan’s DTE Energy noted that thousands of installations and upgrades, combined with maintenance efforts across the region, boosted power reliability by 25 percent last year, reduced outages, and expanded electric capacity.

Last year, the company replaced nearly 13,000 utility poles, installed more than 31,500 new fiberglass cross arms on overhead power lines to replace old wood cross arms, upgraded more than 209 miles of circuits, and built three new substations. It also trimmed more than 5,500 miles of trees — nearly 1,000 miles more than in 2019. Fallen trees and branches lead to two-thirds of the time customers spend without power, according to DTE.

“DTE is investing nearly $1 billion on behalf of our customers to upgrade the grid each year, and these enhancements are helping us deliver improved results,” Heather Rivard, senior vice president of distribution operations, said. “We know our customers depend on us – even more so this past year because they need our service to live, work and learn – so we continue to prioritize building a stronger and smarter grid.”

Some areas saw an even greater boost than the average, though. In Detroit, customers gained an approximately 70 percent improvement in reliability. Beyond mere reliability improvements, however, the company reports the upgrades also move it closer to its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.