Why Michigan’s power keeps going out after storms

DTE Energy is failing to invest their record profits in the residential power grid, according to congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

Last week, thousands of Michiganders lost power after an ice storm with 20-mile per hour wind gusts froze-over power lines. DTE Energy had promised to have 95% of resident’s power restored by Sunday, but by early Sunday night, about 121,000 DTE customers — and about 33,000 Consumers Energy customers — were still without electricity.

Compounding matters, this week Michigan has far more power outages in comparison with other midwestern states that also experienced the storm.

DTE Energy did not respond to Detroit Today’s request for comment.

“It’s a problem with a lack of investment in our infrastructure and keeping our grid updated, keeping our transmission lines updated.” — Nick Schroeck, law professor

Listen: Why power outages occur so often in Michigan.



Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is a Democrat from Detroit who represents Michigan’s 12th District. She says DTE is investing their record-breaking profits into grid modernization for businesses, but not resident homes.

“When I look at where (DTE) invested in the past, especially in Detroit, you see commercial industry getting more modernization and more attention by DTE than residential communities, especially those hardest hit,” says Tlaib.

Nick Schroeck is the associate Dean of Experiential Education and an associate professor at Detroit Mercy School of Law, as well as an environmental law expert. He says Florida is able to get peoples’ power back on quickly.

“It’s a problem with a lack of investment in our infrastructure and keeping our grid updated, keeping our transmission lines updated,” says Schroeck.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.
  • Sam Corey
    Sam Corey is a producer for Detroit Today on 101.9 WDET, which includes finding and preparing interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.