What is the cause of Detroit's Power Outage? - New York News

What is the cause of Detroit's Power Outage?

Updated:
City of Detroit-Chief Compliance Officer, Gary Brown City of Detroit-Chief Compliance Officer, Gary Brown
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DETROIT (WJBK) -

Several buildings in downtown Detroit are still without power. 

Detroit's Power and Lighting Department is working with DTE Energy to restore power.

On Wednesday, The Frank Murphy Hall of Justice was evacuated. Today it's open, but only for hearing and arraignments.  The People Mover is shut down. The main campus of Wayne State University is shut down.

So what failed? it depends on who you ask. One thing is clear, there are problems with the city's aging electrical infrastructure.  Yesterday's unseasonable heat wave may have led to more stress on the system.  Another report says a cable failure is at the root of the cause.

Here's what city officials are saying:

On Wednesday, Bill Nowling of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's office told Fox 2's Alexis Wiley:"The outages are precautionary measure while DTE and city crews work to fix two main lines in the grid that went down earlier today."

Nowling also said, "That city grid customers were asked to reduce power, but failed to, so we had to move intentional outages to protect crucial service."

The outage left people stuck on elevators, in the dark or forced to evacuate the building they occupied.  All of this on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and on a day where the temperatures were in the 90's.

City of Detroit Chief Compliance Officer, Gary Brown smiled as he talked to Wiley about the "intentional outages" on camera.  Play the video to see the exchange:

Wiley: Did any of the customers get any notice that the power would be cut?

Brown: We did start calling our customers prior to taking them down and asking them to turn off air conditioners, but they weren't responding as fast as we would like them to so we had to send them a strong message by turning the power off.

The 'message' has Judge Craig Strong fuming. Strong works at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, which was shut down on Monday after a prisoner knifed a Wayne County Sheriff's deputy to escape.  The event started a man hunt that left many people in the downtown area stressed. Strong says,"We're in a building that's already on high alert after what happened on Monday, we don't need any more mistakes.  If they we're going to do this they should have given us notice so we could plan around it."

Wiley to Brown: What do you say to the people who were stuck in elevators in 90-degrees?

Brown: I say we're working very hard to get them out of the elevators.  I've turned the power on the building we're standing in front of (City County Building) to get people out of the elevator. I made sure people got out of the City County Building, turning the power back on.

Brown told Wiley that the real problem is the Detroit Power and Lighting Department's aging grid, which is a big reason the city says it has agreed turn over services to DTE.  The transfer has not happened yet.

Brown: If we don't take precautionary measures we could lose large parts of the city and we can't allow that to happen.

STATEMENT FROM BOB WARFIELD ON WEDNESDAY, MAYOR DAVE BING SPOKESPERSON:

"The Institutional Public Lighting Department customers are experiencing a power outage caused by extreme heat and cable failure and routine maintenance,  all combined causing a system overload.

Power is expected to be restored sometime this afternoon (Wednesday).

The Public Lighting department is asking their customers, once power is restored, to only turn on lights. No air conditioning, please don't use air conditioners or other non-essential appliances.

This impacts:

City-County Building
Frank Murphy Hall of Justice
McNamara Building
Wayne State University
The Detroit Institute of Arts
and the People Mover

It was not a scheduled shutdown, but rather caused by the extreme heat coupled with cable failure and routine maintenance that was going on.

Fox 2's Erica Erickson offers the latest on the power outage situation downtown and gets reaction to Brown's statement of 'sending a message."

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