When I think of Ann Arbor, I think of Michigan Football, but lately the town has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. With frequent power outages hitting Ann Arbor, residents and business owners alike are getting fed up! With many outages lasting for several days, the community has reached the breaking point, with numerous requests for a change with or without DTE going forward.
Ann Arbor For Public Power, a nonprofit coalition advocating for a 100% renewable and public-owned electric utility in the city, has been fighting for a separation from DTE Energy for years.
"A municipal utility is a utility service which is owned by a city or town," according to the organization. "In Ann Arbor, and most towns, the water and sewer services are municipal utilities. There are over 2000 municipal electric utilities in the country; in fact, 42 municipal electric utilities exist in Michigan, in cities like Lansing, Traverse City and Chelsea."
The renewed cry for something different flared up again this past week as severe thunderstorms hammered the region leaving thousands of customers, including many in Ann Arbor who lost their power for days, powerless.
Businesses Are Taking The Biggest Hit
Studio Studio in Ann Arbor suffered three major power outages this year alone, according to owner and founder Abby Rosenbaum. The most recent round of storms last week knocked out power Wednesday through Friday.
"We've had power outages that lasted four or five days," Rosenbaum said. "This particular stretch of Packard (St.) in Ann Arbor seems to get hit relentlessly every time there is an issue. The last time we were down for several days we had to cancel events and issue refunds, which is a hit for a small business."
Despite the outage, Studio Studio successfully hosted a wedding Friday. However, it was not without having to scramble and acquire borrowed equipment.
"It was the heat, more than anything, that made it difficult. We were without A.C.," she said. "But we were able to borrow a generator from a friend so that at least gave us some outlets to plug into so we could get some fans going."
"We had to run out and buy LED lamps for the bathrooms, we had cords everywhere so that we could have some light for the couple, our sound system was down but we managed to just bring in some Bluetooth speakers," she said. "It wasn't a terrible disaster, but it was definitely stressful."
Power outages can result in significant financial losses for residents and small businesses, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars in spoiled food and missed sales.
The restaurant that catered Studio Studio's Friday wedding — Eat, also on Packard St. in Ann Arbor — announced its immediate closure Tuesday, expedited by the power outage.
"While we had planned to stay open throughout the summer, after yet another power outage caused us to lose our entire inventory, we have decided not to reopen," according to the statement.
That brings up a great question for home owners too? How long will your food last when an outage hits. It's one thing to be comfortable with heat or AC, but what about the food in your freezer and fridge. I know a lot of folks who fish and hunt and a thawing freezer could got them thousands in hard earned venison or fillets. Click here for the answer.
Plan For the Next Outage—Get a Generator
Hearing about the challenges facing Ann Arbor prolonged outages, it sounds like they should focus on finding an alternative. A standby or emergency power source like a generator, whether diesel or natural gas powered—would give these businesses power when the next storm front rolls through and knocks out power.
Click here to see our full inventory of home standby generators. Also see portable generators that can power a few major appliances in the event of an emergency. Call our team at (877) 363-0349 to talk with an expert to see what size generator would work best for your needs.
Power outages are not going away. As cities expand, electricity demands are on the rise and if you follow the weather news, thunderstorms, snowstorms and stronger heat waves —that all translates into more demand and outages.
Back in Michigan, following the resident’s concerns, the DTE sent an e-mail to the Detroit Free Press in which they highlighted plans to expand renewable energies and highlighted current infrastructure projects including $5 billion spent in the past five years. Given the common power outages, it looks like they will have to spend a lot more on the grid or you can make your own luck and invest in a generator to help power your home. Being powerless is not a cool feeling.
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