The Spark

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

Detroit:
DTE leaves thousands without power for days

Jun 16, 2008

Tens of thousands of customers of DTE energy in the Detroit area still had no electricity six days after they lost power during recent storms!

Some people suffered through 90 degree temperatures for days with no way to cool their homes, losing food in their refrigerators and freezers. One couple near Flint died from carbon monoxide poisoning from running an electrical generator inside their home.

State regulations require DTE to restore power to 90% of customers who lose power within 2½ days of an outage. DTE had restored power to only 67% of affected customers within that time. After three days, DTE’s call center still was not working for people to report outages, which they claim was because they were using a new company’s phone system.

The spread of this outage and the inability to repair the damage was a consequence of the drive by DTE, just like all the bosses, to cut workers – and then cut and cut some more. They don’t keep enough workers to do basic maintenance – in DTE’s case, maintenance like removing diseased ash trees that toppled, pulling down power lines during recent storms. DTE has known these trees were a problem for more than a year. But it did nothing. And what’s worse, it cut back on its workforce so much that it can’t handle emergencies from the aftermath of a summer storm. You would think DTE didn’t know that in Michigan, thunderstorms are a common occurrence in the summer and snowstorms in the winter.

The bosses think they can get away with having the bare minimum of workers on hand to just get by. That’s why we see poisoned tomatoes, crane collapses and cars built with serious defects. And why 360,000 people went days and even a week without a basic necessary service.

How crazy is this capitalist society? In the thirst for ever more profit, the bosses cut out jobs that are needed, letting services go down the drain and impoverishing the population.