Electric grids buckle under U.S. heatwave- rolling blackouts begin in Detroit

July 22, 2011FERNDALE , Michigan – The excessive heat and higher electrical demand has led DTE Energy to begin intentional rolling blackouts in one Metro Detroit community, Thursday afternoon, and at least one other area could follow. Residents in Ferndale, already hit with roughly 5,000 outages due to “system stress”, are now on rolling blackouts for the rest of the day. “It allows us to make sure that we’re not putting excessive stress on equipment that may already be damaged, which could cause a more serious problem,” said DTE spokesman Len Singer. “It assures that one batch of customers isn’t burdened with a power outage for the entire period of time,” he said. Singer said DTE has notified customers in Ferndale that they will rotate outages, with power out for two hours and then on for two hours for customers in problem areas. Singer said they are also keeping their eye on electrical demand in Warren to determine if rolling blackouts will be necessary there as well. There were about 25,000 DTE customers without electricity, Thursday afternoon, as temperatures were set to hit the triple digits in Metro Detroit.  The biggest outages right now are in Redford Township, Detroit’s westside, Ferndale and Plymouth Township. Ferndale resident Mason Campbell is one of those coping without electricity. “The apartment’s very hot, the air is thick and humid,” Campbell said. “You know, we live in small apartments and maybe, if you went on the porch, you’d probably be able to sleep, maybe … but it’s kind of difficult,” he said. –CBS Local

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10 Responses to Electric grids buckle under U.S. heatwave- rolling blackouts begin in Detroit

  1. Luke says:

    Its amazing how much we depend on electricity. If you’ve never just stopped and imagined, what it’d be like to lose it, just try it. Look around you. Look around your community. Now look at eveything we’d lose, if the power just went out.


    • Wiseguy says:

      What I like when there’s a power failure is the complete silence and also feeling the electric field around us weakening slowly. Sometimes, when there’s nothing connected on electricity, so you have no warnings, you can even feel that something is missing around you.


    • So very true!

      When I was a little girl, we lived in the deep woods of Minnesota for 2 years. The only way to get to our home was by boat. We had no indoor plumbing and no electricity. I remember these years vividly and often wonder if they were a “training” of sorts. A training of how to survive the things to come.


  2. Golfdad641 says:

    Heat wave taxes the nation’s power grid,

    Heat Bubble in the USA “where electricity providers stand to make quite a bit of money in the coming week”

    So is the USA not prepared or are they prepared to make money from this?


  3. Tina Marie says:

    I’m only about 75 miles from Detroit and this heat is unbelievable. I’ve lived here most of my life and have never seen the kind of intense heat we’ve experienced the last few summers. It used to be mid 80’s this time of yr, maybe a day or two of 90’s but it has been in the 90’s with heat indexs in the 100’s some days for a week now and much of the summer, even June saw a lot of 90 degree weather. Something really big is changing and it sure isn’t good. The Sun stings your skin when you’re outside. God help us all if we lose power and my prayers go out to those poor folks without it. We rarely appreciate all our creature comforts until we no longer have them and I fear that day is coming soon.
    God bless


  4. Shilpa says:

    Americans should keep their liver cool and should have vegetables and juices that are cooling to the liver.


  5. Kelly says:

    This is just another reminder of how borderline the power situation is, as is the available water supply in a lot of areas. If we are entering into a period when extremes are the norm, the grid will be getting taxed at both ends of the spectrum…………… cold winters with the heat demand and baking hot summers with the air-conditioning demands.

    Yet the population just keeps on growing and the demand for electricity with it. It does not take much to throw society into a tailspin these days and a prolonged power outage in major urban centers will be a disaster.

    People are so dependent on the ‘system’ and the majority have had little if any experience with ‘roughing’ it. Heck most peoples ideas of camping these days is sleeping in a tent, but everything else accompanies them, including cell phone, laptop, and a small generator to run the coffee maker and a stereo so they can listen to the tunes at night. Yes sir, roughing it!

    I have been in wilderness tourism for 4 decades and the change I have seen in the customers and their wants and needs is mind boggling. Demanding, soft and entitled is the norm now. Few can stand more than a couple of days in a situation with no running water, power or Dunkin Donuts. And when confronted with serious problems, the majority lack the critical thinking skills or the basic knowledge in so many areas to devise a plan and deal with things.

    That is why most are doomed in the event of an honest to God SHTF scenario. Not too many will make it.


  6. Pagan says:

    Baking hot in the US & down here in Australia very cold. Funny story though – we’ve been burning old Jarrah railway sleepers in our combustion heater this Winter. The wood burns clean, they’re not toxic in any way whatsoever & there’s tonnes upon tonnes of it laying around. One of our neighbours & I use the term lightly as he lives a fair way away, banged on our door & demanded we cease using the combustion & use our split system air con because the smoke bothers him. Here in Australia electricity is extremely expensive, it would cost us over $600 to run that system for 3 months.

    Electricity is becoming a luxury, only the wealthy can afford electric heating & cooling, many low income households are miserably living through one of the coldest Winters on record. Our Gov has just introduced a Carbon Tax which will push our utility bills even higher. There are hard days ahead. They seem to think if they cut emissions Australia will save the world but the damage is already done. In the meantime, we have our candles, use minimum electricity, use a camp oven. We are prepared.



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