Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Power outage on North Campus; drainage problems in Burns Park area?

24. October 2009 • Matt Hampel
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Two possibly weather-related events:

A transformer went down on North Campus sometime around 6:45 today, taking out power to residence halls and other places; not sure if it’s back on yet. Got a texted report of continuing blackout at ~11pm (either the cell tower is out of the range, or has a generator)

The place to look for updates on this is the ITCS outages page, because they update 24/7; here’s their list. At 9:30, the time-to-fix was still 5-6 hours. (wish the City did the same)

In other news, none of the sinks in our Packard house (near Burns Park) are draining this evening; anyone else have a similar problem, or is this just us?

Posting both of these here because what local news organization is awake at 1:30AM?



  1. Michigan Daily has a story Transformer malfunction causes north campus outages


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 24 '09 - 08:51AM    #
  2. This comment on Twitter:

    “@homebysix @vielmetti Two hrs ago our lights flickered too, followed by loud “bang” sounds from DTE facility at Broadway & Maiden Ln. FD showed up.”

    time would be about 7pm Friday.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 24 '09 - 09:01AM    #
  3. I live on Broadway. Our lights dimmed briefly, followed by a loud bang, twice, around 5:00. Then, we experienced the same thing, repeatedly, around 7:00. Sabra saw a bright flash accompanying one of the bangs.

    Then we heard the sirens.

    Our lights never went out, though.


       —David Cahill    Oct. 24 '09 - 11:48AM    #
  4. On campus we had the power drops around 5:15, then saw the big flashes (thought it was lightning) around 7:00.

    The water dept. has an after-hours emergency number if you think any water back-ups are systemic, water is across a street, have a water main break, or if waste water/sewage is coming into your house or neighborhood: 734-994-2840.


       —Juliew    Oct. 24 '09 - 01:40PM    #
  5. Does anyone know what caused the flashes?


       —Junior    Oct. 24 '09 - 03:53PM    #
  6. I talked to DTE and wrote up what I learned on AnnArbor.com . The bit of additional information I learned was that two of the four transformers at the DTE substation at the foot of the Broadway Bridge were offline for seasonal maintenance, and that the small poletop fire took the other two offline.

    I don’t have an explanation yet for the power surge that accompanied this, though I do know that people as far away as Dexter (48130) saw a blip.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 24 '09 - 06:06PM    #
  7. By the way, if anyone from Arbor Update would like a bit of media training on how to call DTE and get a direct answer about what is going on, I’m happy to do that – just let me know, it’s pretty easy. Just cc me with whatever you find out.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 24 '09 - 06:08PM    #
  8. I’ve started a page of phone numbers etc. for after-hours issues at http://arborwiki.org/city/After-hours_emergency

    Ed — would love to have the DTE info there if it’s public knowledge.


       —Matt Hampel    Oct. 24 '09 - 07:23PM    #
  9. More power out tonight (esch park near Georgetown). Details tomorrow I hope.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 31 '09 - 06:28AM    #
  10. Also in the “Bermuda Triangle” at Stadium/Packard from 12:10 until about 5:30 AM – high winds.


       —Leah Gunn    Oct. 31 '09 - 11:24AM    #
  11. Leah, the report I had was of an exploding transformer near Esch Park.

    “nothing like three beeping UPSes, four huge transformer switch explosions, and 50-foot sparks to get your attention of a Saturday night” was the winner quote.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 31 '09 - 01:27PM    #
  12. Thanks for the quote Edward – it was great! We had high winds, a flapping door that really startled me, and on and off flashes before it decided to go dead. Life is always an adventure with DTE!


       —Leah Gunn    Nov. 1 '09 - 03:24AM    #
  13. Leah, it’s my understanding (not borne out by any actual maps to document it) that the “Bermuda Triangle” is a sort of power island, without redundant connections to the power grid; that means one failure will take down the neighborhood. A fix is an investment by DTE to add an extra connection.

    I’m not an electrical engineer, so I don’t know the cost of such a project. I also don’t know if the Georgetown Mall parcel has Bermuda Triangle quality power.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Nov. 1 '09 - 06:31PM    #
  14. What would locals need to do to force DTE to install some higher quality equipment so this garbage does not occur again?


       —Jerry Gilbert    Nov. 3 '09 - 01:12AM    #