Michigan regulators order DTE Electric to remove old power lines

The PLD estimates there is at least 600-900 miles of out-of-service arc wires in its service area

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The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) called for a plan to document and remove miles of out-of-service power lines in Detroit. The request came as the Commission closed its investigation into the accidental electrocution of a 12-year-old girl in September 2016.

The Commission ordered DTE Electric to coordinate with Commission Staff, and the Detroit Public Lighting Department (PLD) to identify the scope of the problem of unused arc lines. The assessment is to include determining how much arc wire remains, who owns the lines and the poles to which they’re attached, and accessibility to the wires. The wires powered arc-type street lights, which have not been used for years.

The PLD estimates there is at least 600-900 miles of out-of-service arc wires in its service area, which includes all of Detroit and some outlying areas.

The wiring report is due to the Commission by March 30, 2018, in a new docket (Case No. U-18484). It is to include cost projections, prioritization of work, and how line removal fits into DTE’s grid modernizations efforts.

According to DTE’s investigation, the city’s abandoned arc wire became energized when it came in contact with DTE Electric facilities.

In its review of the incident, the MPSC said that DTE and PLD have improved communication and response times regarding downed wires in the city, and have worked together on two successful pilot programs that removed more than 140,000 feet of abandoned electric lines.

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