Detroit recovering after massive power outage

Posted at 5:40 PM, Dec 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-02 22:25:22-05

DETROIT, Mich.-- The city of Detroit is recovering from a massive power outage to much of the downtown area Tuesday morning.

A faulty transmission line was responsible for the outage, which caused 87 schools to shut down early, more than 740 traffic lights to go out and trapped many people in elevators inside the downtown courthouse.

Mayor Mike Duggan says the failure is due to the bankrupt city's aging infrastructure, when not one, but two power cables failed.

“For the citizens I would like to say don’t be in a hurry as we all know all the traffic signals are not working,” said Brenda Jones, council president.

At approximately 10:30 a.m., about 100 buildings lost power.

The city rolled out their emergency plan, deploying firefighters to buildings where elevators were stuck, and 100 officers were dispatched to the busiest intersections to keep traffic moving.

“The emergency operation center was up and running at 10:30 this morning, and the team was there,” said Mayor Duggan.

The problem was a cable that belongs to Detroit public lighting that failed, the power was rerouted to a second cable which also failed, and then the entire system was shut down.

“The poor infrastructure is entirely responsible for this, so what you have is a power grid across this city that the city has not modernized in decades,” said Mayor Duggan.

Detroit Edison provides power to much of Detroit area and is slowly updating the grid system that went down today.

“We are on a program to rebuild the system. That means new cables and new sub stations. The investment is approximately $200 million to connect the system to our system and to rehabilitate and remain in operation,” said Jerry Norcia, president of Detroit Edison.

Duggan's office said power was restored to the city late Tuesday evening, according to WJBK. 

“Be prepared to go back to work tomorrow, you are not going to have time off; be prepared, the city is working to restore the services,” said Jones.

The city says cable failures in big cities are not uncommon. The city said there were no injuries related to the outage, and power has been restored in places like city hall and Detroit Receiving Hospital.