FERNDALE (WWJ) - The excessive heat and higher electrical demand has led DTE Energy to begin intentional rolling blackouts in one Metro Detroit community, Thursday afternoon, and at least one other area could follow.
Residents in Ferndale, already hit with roughly 5,000 outages due to “system stress”, are now on rolling blackouts for the rest of the day.
“It allows us to make sure that we’re not putting excessive stress on equipment that may already be damaged, which could cause a more serious problem,” said DTE spokesman Len Singer.
“It assures that one batch of customers isn’t burdened with a power outage for the entire period of time,” he said.
Singer said DTE has notified customers in Ferndale that they will rotate outages, with power out for two hours and then on for two hours for customers in problem areas.
Singer said they are also keeping their eye on electrical demand in Warren to determine if rolling blackouts will be necessary there as well.
There were about 25,000 DTE customers without electricity, Thursday afternoon, as temperatures were set to hit the triple digits in Metro Detroit. The biggest outages right now are in Redford Township, Detroit’s westside, Ferndale and Plymouth Township.
Ferndale resident Mason Campbell is one of those coping without electricity.
“The apartment’s very hot, the air is thick and humid,” Campbell said. “You know, we live in small apartments and maybe, if you went on the porch, you’d probably be able to sleep, maybe … but it’s kind of difficult,” he said.
Kathy Marvin, also in Ferndale, called the WWJ Newsroom to share how garden lights came to the rescue.
“I brought in a half-dozen solar lights and put them by the dog’s water bowl, the bathroom, kitchen and living room, so I could have light in the house,” said Marvin.
“It was safe. There was no danger to it whatsoever … I was without power for about eight hours, and they were still lit up when I got my power back on at about three o’clock this morning,” she said.
DTE spokesman Len Singer told WWJ the heat wave has caused a few problems. “This has been a really extended period of extreme weather for us. We’re not accustomed to seeing this kind of weather multiple days in a row. In fact, it’s probably been the 1990s since we’ve seen this sort of a stretch of weather,” said Singer.
DTE is giving out bags of ice and water at a community center in Ferndale, which the city is using as a cooling center.
Meantime, Consumers Energy is asking its nearly two million electric customers to reduce their power use because of the heat wave. The Jackson-based utility says temperatures in the 90s and high humidity have pushed up the customer demand for electricity to near-record levels on its system.
Temperatures are expected to hit near the 100 degree mark Thursday, but, when factoring in the sky-high heat and humidity levels the temperature may feel like close to 110 degrees.
An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect in Southeast Michigan until 10 p.m. Thursday. For the latest forecast, stay tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. Visit our weather page.