Since November 2014, Detroit-based DTE Energy has converted 55 Detroit schools from the Detroit Public Lighting Department’s grid to its power grid. As a result, Detroit schools have experienced a 99 percent reduction in the number of closings caused by electrical failures, company officials with DTE say.
When Public Lighting Department customers became DTE customers in July 2014, DTE partnered with the department to improve energy reliability in the schools.
“Over the last 50 years, Detroit’s electric infrastructure had dilapidated to a point where it was not realistic to rebuild it internally,” says Beau Taylor, public sector administrator at the Public Lighting Department. “We looked for a partner to improve (our) service while we transitioned our customers to a new grid and DTE Energy was a natural fit.”
Detroit schools, including the Detroit Public School Community District, parochial, private, charter, and Education Achievement Authority schools, reported a total of 184 school closings as a result of power outages during the 2013 to 2014 school year.
Since DTE began providing service to Detroit schools, the improvements have been impactful:
After DTE began providing service to the city’s schools, the Detroit schools experienced 191 outages and 44 school closings during the 2014 to 2015 school year, and 31 outages, with only two closings reported due to power failure, during the 2015 to 2016 school year.
The conversion project impacts a total of 115 business customers and institutions, including Cobo Hall, Coleman A. Young International Airport, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Wayne State University, Belle Isle, and city government buildings.
DTE’s operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in the state. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.