'Arc flash' fire caused Troy power outage

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 23, 2015

 This portable substation was moved to the DTE Energy substation on Livernois, just south of Big Beaver to help to restore power to the approximately 4,000 customers that remained without power after an electrical equipment failure occurred July 23.

This portable substation was moved to the DTE Energy substation on Livernois, just south of Big Beaver to help to restore power to the approximately 4,000 customers that remained without power after an electrical equipment failure occurred July 23.

Photo by Terry Oparka

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Troy experienced a massive power outage between Coolidge Highway and John R, Square Lake Road to 14 Mile Road starting July 23.

An equipment failure at the DTE Energy substation on Livernois, just south of Big Beaver, caused the outage, said DTE spokesman Robert Carpenter.

He said the cause of the failure remained under investigation. He and other DTE staff were at Troy Police Headquarters the morning of July 24 to hand out 3,000 cases of ice and 3,000 cases of water for free to those in need. DTE donated the water and ice.

DTE spokesperson Shannen Palmer explained the the equipment failure created an “arc flash” fire, which is very intense, that caused smoke damage and damage to the wire circuitry.

Traffic signals throughout the city had been restored at all major intersections the afternoon of July 23 with the use of generators.

Troy Police Sgt. Meghan Lehman said that 11,000 customers had been affected by the power outage, and as of 10 a.m. July 24, about 4,000 customers remained without power. Lehman said that DTE officials said they hoped to restore power to all customers by 11 p.m. July 24.

She noted that Troy police had doubled their patrol staff during the power outage.
“There was not a significant increase in police calls as a result of the outage during the overnight hours,” she said.

Carpenter said that four large diesel generators and other substations were providing power to about half of the customers affected by the outage.

“We want to thank our customers for their patience,” Carpenter said.

Troy resident Jay Beasse, who lives on Meadowbrook, near Wattles and Livernois, said she came to Troy Police Headquarters for the ice. She said she lost power at about 8 a.m. July 23.

“We have stuff in the freezer,” she said. “We were going to buy it (ice), but we saw on the Internet we could get it for free.”

The city set up a phone number to deal with nonemergency issues at (248) 524-3300. Residents can contact DTE Energy at  (800) 477-4747 or online at www.dteenergy.com.

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