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What’s Causing Detroit’s Power Problems?

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Officials say it was another problem with the city of Detroit’s aging power grid. Outages darkened Wayne State University, the Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit Institute of Arts Thursday afternoon – the second time that has happened in six months.

WWJ Newsradio 950′s Marie Osborne spoke with Detroit’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Brown who said the problem began when a two feeder lines went down shortly before noon at the Custer substation in Midtown.

“We’ve had a lot of storms. We’ve had a lot of problems with what’s called splicing. Splicing is the same issue that we had about six months ago,” said Brown. “Lines get wet … you know, wet and water and electricity don’t go well together.”

The lights went out Thursday at Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.

School was canceled at several Detroit Public Schools due to blackouts, and all students in the district were dismissed one hour early due to power problems.

Late Thursday afternoon, Brown said the power was back on at all affected Detroit schools, including WSU. School was expected to be back in session on Friday.

“Probably good news for the parents, bad news for the kids,” said Brown.

Brown said they are confident the problem is fixed for now, but concedes that with a system that is 150 years old, there are bound to be some problems.

Earlier in the day, WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas spoke with City Councilman James Tate, who said the council is hoping to address what he called “huge problems” with Detroit public lighting.

Tate said he believes the city should consider giving away control of the system, because it’s simply to expensive to repair. (More on this, here).

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