Winter Storm Tips for Your Business

Coping with Power Outages

Whether your business is in a large commercial development or in your home, we understand that a power outage is difficult to cope with. Rest assured that we’re doing everything we can, before and after a storm hits, to get you back in business quickly.

High Reliability

While Detroit Edison has a high reliability record, you never know when Mother Nature may cause a power outage. That’s why it is important to develop a detailed emergency plan with defined roles for your key employees well in advance of the next severe storm.

Make a Plan

  • Decide who is responsible for initiating and maintaining contact with Detroit Edison during a power outage.
  • Make sure employees know when and how they will be notified of work schedule changes.
  • Find out in advance where can you obtain dry ice, temporary refrigeration or a back-up power supply if needed.
  • Determine how you will prevent data loss or sensitive electronic equipment damage.

Advance Planning

  • Acquaint yourself with our Storm Update feature, activated on our home page during severe storms. It’s one way you can keep track of the extent of storm damage and the progress of restoration efforts. Obviously, this may be more convenient from your home or another location with power.
  • If you plan to use a back-up power source, have an electrician permanently install the proper sized generator or the access outlet(s) and transfer switch for a temporary generator connection.
  • If you’re working on a computer, save the data and conduct a controlled shut down to prevent data loss. You may want to program your software to save data every five-minutes.
  • Install an emergency lighting system and the appropriate battery back-ups for emergency lighting and your security system.
  • Install surge suppression and uninterrupted power supply devices to protect sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Your phone system may not operate if power is out. Think about what alternate methods are available for handling incoming or outgoing calls.

During a Severe Storm

Watch for indications of low voltage. If lights dim, computer pictures shrink, or motors hum louder, feel hotter or run slower, you’re experiencing low voltage. Shut off sensitive electronics and motor-driven equipment to avoid possible damage. Report the low voltage problem by calling 1-800-477-4747.

If You Lose Power

  • It’s important to call 1-800-477-4747 to report your power outage. Please don’t assume we know you are without power. Your report, and those of neighboring businesses, helps us determine the scope of the problem, identify patterns and dispatch repair crews more effectively.
  • If you plan to shut your business down, let us know where to reach you if there are additional questions or if a repair crew needs access to your property.
  • Unplug motor-driven equipment and sensitive electronic equipment to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Cover open, refrigerated cases. If power will be out for an extended time, consider leasing a refrigerated truck or contact a dry ice distributor.
  • If portable heaters are being used, keep them well away from flammable materials and vent them properly. To prevent pipes from freezing, open faucets slightly so they drip constantly.

Safety Tips

Our power lines and equipment are built to meet all state and national safety standards and are safe under normal conditions. But when damaging winds or severe storms hit, power lines can come down.

It’s important to keep at least 10 feet away from downed wires and anything they are touching. Be especially cautious near metal fences following a severe storm. Electric current will be strongest where a downed wire is touching a metal fence, but even a connecting fence some distance away can be energized and dangerous. Report a downed power line by calling us at 1.800.477.4747.

If you are using a back-up power generator, make sure all circuits are disconnected from Detroit Edison lines. Protect your employees, your neighbors and our repair crews from the dangerous back feed of electricity. Small business owners may find our Safely Operating Portable Generators pages helpful.

In case of flooding, disconnect power to all electrical equipment and outlets before stepping into standing water. Do not attempt to remove a fuse or turn off a circuit breaker while standing in water.

Restoration Plan

To keep storm damage to a minimum and to restore your power quickly, we keep our ’weather-eye’ on the sky at all times. By the time the storm reaches our area, our emergency team is already at work, implementing our Storm Response Plan.

Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of the community at large. For that reason, we first restore power to critical services such as hospitals, nursing care facilities, police and fire stations, communication facilities (radio/ TV) and sanitary pumping facilities.

Next, we restore service to remaining households and businesses, beginning with those circuits where the largest numbers of customers are without power.