Modernizing DTE’s Grid in Detroit

DTE is working to provide customers with the power they need and reliability they deserve. That’s why the company has been modernizing and updating the grid extensively in Detroit since 2018.

But what does the phrase “modernizing and updating the grid” really mean?

“It’s a good question,” said Kelli Ellison, DTE Capital Projects manager and lead on the Detroit program. “It means we are making significant improvements to the equipment that currently operates in many areas of the city, including utility poles, wires and more. This work will help customers have less outages and, when there are power interruptions, they don’t last as long.”

In addition, the modernized equipment provides a much higher level of safety for customers, with fewer power lines down. It also makes working conditions safer for DTE line workers handling the electrical equipment.

Since 2018, DTE has invested $500 million to modernize nearly 1,500 miles of infrastructure throughout the city, with special emphasis in many of its residential neighborhoods.

Here’s how it works:

  • First, we trim trees along power lines. Trees contacting DTE equipment account for half the time our customers spend without power.
  • Then, we test all utility poles that have DTE equipment attached and either replace or reinforce those poles, as needed.
  • Next, we remove the old, unused Detroit Public Lighting wires. This addresses a major safety factor.
  • Lastly, we replace older wooden crossarms — which help hold pole equipment, like powerlines, in place — with new and stronger fiberglass crossarms and new pole top hardware.

“Our Detroit program has already proven highly effective at improving both safety and reliability, and, importantly, it’s also cost effective for our customers,” said Ellison.

But why not just upgrade and rebuild the entire city to a more modern grid system now?

“Conversion of the older system is part of the long-term plan for both Detroit and in other communities we serve,” said Ellison. “But rebuilding all at once is costly and can take many years to complete. In contrast, we can harden all the power delivery equipment tied to one substation in under 12 months and still deliver a huge reliability benefit to our customers now — at a more affordable price.”

“For me, as a native Detroiter, it’s important that DTE is taking these steps, transitional steps to be sure, to deliver power more safely and reliably across this city — and I am incredibly proud to be a part of this effort.”

To learn more about the many projects and improvements DTE is making in Detroit, visit our new city and neighborhood blog page at



About Post Author

From the Web

Skip to content