Plan to upgrade comes this week
By Don Rush
During January’s Addison Township Board meeting, Supervisor Bruce Pearson reported that due to the recent rash of power outages in the township and Leonard Village, he and Village President Mike McDonald would begin assessing DTE power poles.
Pearson contacted representatives of DTE and received a list of power outages in the community and what they believed the reasons for the outages were:
Aug. 8: Outage was caused by tree limbs falling onto our wires and causing a recloser to operate.
Aug. 10: Outage was intentional to allow crews to repair broken equipment on the circuit
Aug. 29: Tree limb caused recloser to operate.
Oct. 25: Outage was caused by broader tie line issue that affected a greater area.
Oct. 31: Recloser outage – most likely tree related
Nov. 5: Recloser outage – most likely tree related
Nov. 5: Second outage: Recloser outage – most likely tree related
Dec. 23: The high winds blew several phases together and caused a full circuit outage
Dec. 30: Caused by a cutout failing and a cross arm broke and caught on fire.
Last week, as the snow started to fall, both McDonald and Pearson, Addison Township Fire Chief Jerry Morwaski and two representatives from DTE, Leif Clark, Associate Regional Manager, Lapeer and Northern St. Clair County, and Jared Pannell toured the “Loop Scheme” for the township and village. The two representatives from DTE got an ear-full from Pearson and McDonald before heading out into the field.”
“This had been fixed in the past,” Pearson said as the group of five overlooked a print out of the area with DTE circuits before them. “About 10 years ago. You (DTE) said you had it resolved. It was all fixed. There are new poles on Rochester Road. It was fixed, but now it’s back to the same old thing. Right before Christmas I was having a party with all the lights on and everybody there. Then the power went out, across the street, all up and down the road. I had power, on the other side of the road they didn’t. People were saying, ‘Gee you have power. You must be the Supervisor.’”
McDonald said, “After the first upgrade, service was good. But, the last couple of years it has gotten dramatically worse. It’s not that we don’t appreciate you coming out today. We do. But, our people are really getting frustrated.”
Pearson added, “It’s not like we are not paying our bills. We are the people who are setting up automatic payments up here.”
Fire Chief Morawski said, “We have an older population up here. Many are on oxygen, power outages really impact their lives.”
Pearson said he believes many of the poles have outlived their usefulness. “Some of the tags on those poles are from 1938.”
The area most impacted by the power outages is mainly from the village west on Leonard Road to Lake George, to east to Hagerman to and north to Gerst Road.
Pannell, who said he has worked out of the Lapeer office for DTE for the past eight months, however the first he had heard of the issues in Addison and Leonard were the day before.
“We will figure it out,” he told the locals. “We will find out what happened and work backwards. We will resolve this.”
To which Pearson interjected, “This is like Round 4 for us.”
“There won’t be a Round 5,” Pannell answered.
After meeting inside Rowland Hall explained the circuit map (Loop Scheme) which showed where poles and what types of circuits were on them, all five went out to tour the community. According to Pearson, that tour lasted about an hour.
“The problem was,” Pearson said after, “Our area was piece-mealed together over the years. They (DTE) used Bandaids to fix problems for as long as they could.”
This past Friday, Pearson reported they had found close to 200 issues with “those porcelain transfer switches or whatever they call them. They found a grant to replace them. They will also divide the town into three different zones, which should really improve things.”
He added a plan from DTE on the improvements should be coming this week.