December 12, 2017
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Massive power outage hits Detroit

The power outage caused evacuations of buildings throughout downtown Detroit.
The power outage caused evacuations of buildings throughout downtown Detroit.
The power outage caused evacuations of buildings throughout downtown Detroit.

A massive outage cut power for as long as six hours to public buildings in Detroit ranging from city hall to a criminal courthouse, scores of public schools and more than three dozen buildings at Wayne State University, officials said.

The outage in the city-run system that distributes power to the public buildings was another black eye for Detroit, which won court approval in November to exit the biggest US municipal bankruptcy.

"Today is another reminder of how much work we still have to do to rebuild this city," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told a news conference. "A bankruptcy order doesn't solve the decades of neglect in our infrastructure."

The city said late Tuesday afternoon that power had been restored to all customers, though two city facilities served by the grid had not yet powered up.

DTE Energy Co, which sells power to Detroit Public Lighting, worked with the city to restore power, DTE spokesman Scott Simons said.

The mayor said a cable that feeds an electrical substation failed on Tuesday morning, and when Detroit Public Lighting began to move customers to another working circuit, a breaker on the second circuit failed and triggered a system shutdown.

The system serves nearly all public schools, Wayne State University, fire and police stations and other buildings.

Detroit's bankruptcy plan calls for the city business to be turned over to DTE in a four-year process, Duggan said.

The outage cut street lights for several blocks and darkened the Joe Louis Arena, a courthouse and the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, which includes city hall, among other buildings. Firehouses were running on backup generators.

Detroit Institute of Arts lost power during school field trips and employees escorted visitors out of the building, an official said. It is expected to be open on Wednesday.

Traffic came to a standstill around Wayne State University as students left the Detroit campus. The Detroit Public Schools dismissed all students at midday and deployed public busses early to take students home.

Power was restored to the criminal courthouse about midday, but the building remained closed. It will be open on Wednesday.

Many of the same buildings were struck by an outage in September 2013 after temperatures soared into the 90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius), overtaxing the aging electrical system.

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Tags:  Detroit  power outage  buildings  downtown  city  US  World  

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