After an enormous power outage swept through downtown Detroit this week, officials and citizens have been scrambling to recover and desperate for answers on what caused the failure. Previous reports put the blame on a simple but massive “cable failure,” but new details suggest the power outage was the result of a much more serious and long-term problem within the city of Detroit.
According to M Live, the mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, said the power outage serves as a reminder to the people of Detroit about how much they need to improve in the way the city is run. Duggan claimed that “poor infrastructure is completely at fault for this,” and that the power grid of Detroit hasn’t “been modernized in decades.” The power outage, which closed schools and rendered essential facilities like prisons and fire departments useless, has shown the people of Detroit “how much we still have to do to restore order.”
While power has been restored to nearly all of Detroit, the failure of the power cable shut down almost 115 different buildings that received power from the Detroit Public Lighting Department. This included everything from police stations to Wayne State University — and even Detroit Receiving Hospital.
“We’re not certain what happened to the cable,” said the president of DTE Energy, Jerry Norcia. “I’m sure it’s age-related.”
Scott Simons, a spokesman for DTE Energy, said that Detroit once ran its own power plant to generate power for the city, but that’s no longer the case. Duggan outlined a plan on Tuesday to fix Detroit’s energy problem by implementing a $200 million campaign to modernize the power grid. This includes granting DTE full control over Detroit’s power over the course of the next four years. The mayor believes the power overhaul is necessary since Detroit’s grid is “so far gone that it could not be salvaged.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Simons believes it could take as many as five to seven years to transfer all of Detroit’s power customers to DTE.
“Public Lighting is an antiquated system, and because of the city’s financial situation, it’s been neglected,” said Simons. “It needs to come up to our standards.”
In the meantime, citizens of Detroit will have to wait patiently while power is restored and the city is rebuilt virtually from scratch. Detroit has gained a poor reputation in many areas, from infrastructure to crime. Residents of the city will have to hope DTE’s four-year plan is the spark that gets Detroit back on track.
“Today is another reminder of how much work we still need to do to rebuild this city,” said the mayor of Detroit. “There’s just been so much neglected for so long.”