UPDATED: Thousands Lose Power in Berkley, Huntington Woods

DTE attributes Tuesday's outages to record-high temperatures and a substation fire.

Hundreds of DTE Energy customers in Huntington Woods lost power Tuesday afternoon as played havoc with the utility's electrical system and, just as those outages were resolved, more than 1,000 occurred in Berkley after a substation fire.

In a reversal of fortunes, DTE's outage map showed that 1,719 customers in Berkley were without power near midnight and only two were impacted by outages in Huntington Woods. 

DTE spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said the Berkley outages began at approximately 10:20 p.m. after a fire at a substation. He said the utility did not know what caused the fire, but that service to approximately 10,000 customers in Berkley and had to be taken down to allow for a safe investigation.

"We're currently assessing the situation," he said just after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. "The fire's contained."

Bodipo-Memba said the affected Berkley customers would be moved to other circuits as soon as possible, but could not provide an estimated service restoration time.

As of 10:20 p.m., the outage map had shown 914 customers in Huntington Woods still affected by an outage that DTE spokesman Len Singer said began at approximately 4 p.m. The and lost power and was closed Tuesday afternoon.

"I expect the problem is related to the extremely high heat," Singer said. "Today has been the highest demand on the electrical system of the year. It has also been the hottest day of the year."

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch Tuesday for southeast Michigan and the Detroit Free Press reported that the high hit 101 degrees, which tied a record first set on July 17, 1887.

Director Steve Fairman could not say whether smoke seen at the library was caused by the heat and ensuing outage, but said appeared to be related to a mechanical problem with the facility's air conditioning.

"It doesn't seem to be anything serious," and there was no actual fire, he said.

DTE's Singer said the unusually hot weather this summer has put stress on the utility's system and caused a number of localized outages Tuesday, but that crews would be looking to see if specific repairs need to be made.

Stay tuned to Berkley Patch for updates.


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