The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Massive Power Outage in Southeast Michigan

Aug 16, 2021

Over 700,000 customers of DTE and another 150,000 of Consumers Energy lost power in Southeast Michigan after storms occurred over two recent days. For DTE, that amounts to one out of every three customers! Many were still without power days later and DTE did not even promise to have more than 95% restored until three to four days later.

This is the fifth time in two months that huge numbers of homeowners have lost power. At the same time many homeowners have had to deal with flooding. Since the earlier floods, many people put money out to buy pumps to keep the water out of their homes. Those pumps don’t work if there’s no power.

The latest outages occurred at the same time much of lower Michigan was under a heat advisory. Naturally, that means many people lost hundreds of dollars in food they had packed away in freezers. Not to mention having no air conditioning to deal with the heat. It was also more difficult to drive around the area due to traffic lights being out.

People are getting tired and angry as a result of going through floods and power outages over and over again. The power companies pretend they’re doing all they can to restore power, but over the years they’ve cut back drastically on paying workers to maintain and repair the power lines.

People shouldn’t count on state law to push the electric companies to move faster to restore power. If more than 10% of customers lose power the conditions are considered “catastrophic,” which allows the companies five full days before they would be required to reimburse customers for their electric bill for the month.

The CEO of DTE, Jerry Norcia, claims they’re doing all they can to prevent outages like this. He says they looked into burying power lines to protect them against high winds, but the costs to do so would be exorbitant. He openly says they’ve decided it’s cheaper to pay for aggressive tree trimming. That may be true, but if the power to hundreds of thousands of people is going out five times in two months, maybe they need to be a little more aggressive about trimming trees. In other words, hire more workers and fix the damn power grid!