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Planned power outage leaves thousands without light, heat in Detroit

Households and businesses in one section of Detroit lost power for a few hours Wednesday morning.

That’s because DTE Energy was performing what it calls “routine maintenance” on some underground power lines.

Mid-morning, generators were still humming at Holbrook Auto Repair in  Highland Park. Manager Jeff Worthy bought them this week, when he found out DTE planned the temporary power outage.

“We typically open up at 8. We didn’t get our generators running til around 10,” Worthy says. “It was freezing in here.”

Like many in this neighborhood, Worthy questioned DTE’s timing, "especially in this weather."

"Whatever they’re doing--no one even knows what they’re doing--but why would you wait until January to do it?”

DTE says city officials advised them to time the outage for early January, so it wouldn’t disrupt school schedules. Some churches and neighborhood centers did open as warming centers during the outage.

A spokesman says DTE restored all power by late morning, earlier than expected. The company maintains the fixes will help avoid prolonged outages in the future.

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.
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