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Power outages plague Oakland County communities

DTE Energy says about 12,000 customers were still without power on Tuesday, after Saturday’s strong storms.  Many were clustered in southeast Oakland County, especially in the Detroit suburbs of Ferndale and Oak Park.

The utility had restored power to about 90%  of its customers who saw it knocked out during the weekend storms.

But a number of Ferndale residents were still in the dark. The city’s schools had to cancel the first day of classes, due to the lack of power and other lingering storm damage.

Ferndale resident Rod Shontz says DTE told him his power might not get restored until Saturday.

“Eight o’clock tonight will be like three days it’s been out, and it seems like a week and a half to me. I’m living in the Dark Ages! It’s dark here at night!”

Shontz says he wasn’t affected by the prolonged power outage that hit many other Ferndale residents during the July heat wave.

Some residents of Ferndale and nearby Oak Park have gone more than 10 days without power this summer.

Ferndale City Manager April McGrath says problems at a DTE substation caused prolonged outages during the July heat wave. She says the weekend’s storm revives some unanswered questions.

“The bottom line is that our residents are frustrated in terms of what’s going on with their power outages. And of course, knowing this is a storm, [but] we still don’t have answers from July, and what happened with the infrastructure and the substation.”

McGrath says DTE has been responsive, and promised to produce a report detailing what happened.

DTE says the current outages reflect the storm’s path more than infrastructure issues.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.