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January 16, 2014
GROSSE POINTE WOODS — Frustration levels are high among city administrators, residents and business owners following another power outage that occurred Sunday night in the area of Mack and Vernier.

The cause of the outage appears to be an explosion of a DTE Energy transformer located on Ridgemont. A fire followed the explosion at 4:55 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9.

While there is agreement on the cause of the outage, questions remain as to why hundreds of residents and businesses lost power yet again in an area that has been plagued by outages for at least a decade.

"The entire grid was out, which was not supposed to happen because DTE has told us that the area had been sectionalized and large outages likes this were not supposed to occur anymore," said Woods city administrator, Skip Fincham. "I'm frustrated that we don't have an answer on this."

As of Tuesday morning, Fincham hadn't received response to an e-mail he sent Monday morning to DTE official Kathy Jordan, a regional manager for Corporate and Government Affairs.

Power went out to about 1,000 customers in the area following the explosion, and remained out until about 9:30 p.m. for residents, while power was restored to businesses about 4 a.m. Monday morning.

The area in question is referred to as Sector 1481 and has been the subject of numerous meetings between residents and DTE officials in the past few years. In October, DTE officials told residents that it was committing $4 million to improving service, including sectionalizing the area, tree trimming and line upgrades.

Director of Public Safety Andrew Pazuchowski said his department received several calls for information Sunday night, and asked residents to understand how his department handles those calls.

"The dispatcher simply doesn't have time to respond to every question," he explained. "We only had one dispatcher on duty because all our personnel, including our ambulance and EMTs were responding to the fire with the transformer. Our dispatcher had to make sure the lines were open for any emergency calls that came in."

Pazuchowski noted that often times his department has no more information on an outage than residents do.

He did say DTE workers were on the scene of the transformer fire within 30 minutes of the first call and were able to assist his department in extinguishing the fire.

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