DTE to Invest $7 Billion in Grid Improvements

Sharon Pfeuffer, DTE Energy’s Vice President of Distribution Engineering and Construction, says basic work like trimming trees and hardening circuits results in a 50% to 70% improvement in grid reliability.

DTE truck parked outside on a stormy day

Photo credit: Pat Batcheller/WDET.

DTE Energy announced Thursday that it’s investing $7 billion over the next five years to upgrade the electric grid in southeastern Michigan.

The utility says the investment will go toward modernizing the current grid to improve its reliability and capacity and to prepare for future weather events and vehicle electrification.

Sharon Pfeuffer, DTE Energy’s Vice President of Distribution Engineering and Construction, says the upgrade will also improve the region’s job market.

“To do this amount of work, we’re going to have to staff up,” she explains. “We are looking at, for example, how many additional tree trimmers we need to trim trees to make the whole grid more reliable, how many linemen we need, how many engineers we need, and so overall, it’s a good employment picture for southeast Michigan.”

Pfeuffer says basic work like trimming trees and hardening circuits results in a 50% to 70% improvement in grid reliability.

The utility received criticism earlier this year for storm-related outages that left hundreds of thousands of Michiganders without power for days. The Michigan Public Service Commission is asking all electric providers it regulates to answer questions about the summer storms that left more than a million residents statewide without power for several days.

Web story by Claudia Brancart.

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