DTE to start additional streetlight upgrades next week in Park

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 31, 2013

GROSSE POINTE PARK — DTE Energy is hoping to shed new light on the city.

As part of a $1.6 million investment to improve street lighting in Grosse Pointe City, Farms and Park, the utility last week announced plans to begin work Feb. 4 to upgrade almost 500 older streetlights that operate on series circuits. Like old Christmas tree lights, when one light on a series circuit fails, many of the others on the circuit — if not all, in some cases — go dark simultaneously. In the Park, work will take place along Kercheval, from Cadieux to Alter, as well as on Charlevoix and Mack, according to DTE. Some side streets, including Three Mile and Bedford, will be part of this project, as well.

Old high-pressure mercury lights are being replaced by more energy-efficient high-pressure sodium lights, and City Manager Dale Krajniak said that’s expected to reduce the city’s streetlight operating costs by about 19 percent after the new lights are installed.

In an email interview, Krajniak said work is likely to start this week on one of the three circuits slated for an upgrade this spring. He said the first step is underground boring for the Kercheval circuit.

This work is in addition to a streetlight project undertaken last fall in the Park, DTE Energy spokesperson Scott Simons said. Krajniak said because that project took less time than originally anticipated and came in under budget, DTE ended up upgrading five circuits in the Park instead of three, as initially planned.

The utility is hoping to address concerns from residents about streetlight outages — some of which have been lengthy.

“We want a more reliable street-lighting system for our customers in the Grosse Pointes, and this is one way that we can accomplish that,” Simons said.

Outages have been a major source of frustration for residents.

“I must say, while we’ve experienced numerous service challenges in prior years due to the age of our lighting infrastructure, it’s a welcome sight to see (DTE) invest the necessary funds in our area,” Krajniak said. “I also must add, what often goes unnoticed due to the outages and frustration that accompanies the outages is the quality of personnel I’ve encountered at DTE. I am certain, like us, they are more than pleased to see the investment in upgrades, which reduces (the) customer frustrations which confront them.”

While each phase of the project is under way, DTE officials said they will need to cut power to the affected streetlight circuits for 30-40 days. They said signs will be posted on streetlights impacted, and residents and businesses will receive door hangers to let them know about the project. DTE officials said electric service to businesses and homes won’t be impacted by this process. Streetlights will be turned back on as soon as possible, once work is done on each circuit, according to DTE.

DTE has already installed these lights in many other communities in southeast Michigan, including along Grosse Pointe Boulevard in Grosse Pointe Farms, Simons said. The 2013 Park project should be completed in a couple of months, he said. Work in the Farms and City will start later this year, Simons said.

To see a project status report, visit www.dteenergy.com. For other questions about this project, call DTE’s Community Lighting Department toll-free at (800) 548-4655.