January 22, 2014 - When the power went out in Addison Township two days after being restored in wake of the Dec. 21-22 ice storm that was the last straw for Supervisor Bruce Pearson.
Pearson called upon state Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford) and state Sen. Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion) to help orchestrate a meeting between Addison and DTE officials in order to try and resolve a "failing system" that he's been trying to get fixed since meeting with power company five years ago.
On Friday Jan. 17, Pearson, along with Leonard Village President Mike McDonald and Marleau met with seven DTE representatives from Lansing and Detroit.
"I told them how displeased (with the service) I was," Pearson said. "They said 'we do understand there is a problem there and we are well aware of it. You did address this (with us) five years ago and we didn't take care of it and we're going to take care of it now.'"
DTE drew up engineering plans on how to fix the system five years ago, but the project was denied in Lansing due to cost.
Addison was never told about that.
"They already had the engineering drawn up from the last time and they knew what had to be done, but when they presented it, (the project) fell on the bottom of the list," added Pearson. "This time they said it will be at the top of the list."
"If you don't fight for these things, of course, they're going to keep passing you over. They got other places to spend their money," he continued. "Somebody's got to be the squeaky wheel."
Since April 2009, there have been 27 outages for the village of Leonard, 24 outages around the Addison Township Hall and 30 outages around the Rowland Road area, which have all lasted between 2 hours and six days.
"I know there is more than that, but that's just what they showed us," Pearson noted.
DTE also brought out maps depicting the entire electrical system.
"The power lines run in a dead-end run, so when one part of it goes out, it all goes down," he explained. "In other cities and townships, they have loop system, so if it goes down at one end, it isolates that (outage) and brings electricity in through another way."
Pearson used Rochester Road and Rowland Road as an example.
"If a tree falls on a line at Rochester and Rowland Road, the circuit breaker will blow and it would not just knockout the half-dozen houses that are connected to that line, but everything beyond that, so the whole town of Leonard is knocked out," he said. "Now (under the new system DTE is going to put in) if a tree falls down, it will knock out those five houses on that one line, and the fuse will blow and we may be out of electricity momentarily, but all of a sudden, the electricity will come back from the direction of Lake George and Leonard Road and everybody will have power, except those six houses where the tree needs to be removed."
In order to "loop" the system, Pearson said DTE will have to purchase more right-of-way at Lake George and Oakwood Roads and make the connection loop there.
But in order for it to work, the current power lines need to be replaced with bigger lines that have a higher gauge. DTE is planning on starting this summer.
"By the time they get the right-of-way and they redo the power lines and get that loop in, it's going to be fall," Pearson said.
While many potential tree issues have been resolved, Pearson is asking that homeowners cooperate with DTE and allow them to trim or cut trees that could potentially fall on power lines.
"If you're going to be a good neighbor, you got to be a good neighbor to the neighbors farther down the power line," he said. "It's not just about your house. It's about the other 100 people beyond you."
Pearson said he couldn't have ever gotten anything accomplished without the help he received.
"Senator Marleau and Representative Brad Jacobsen put the pressure on them and I would never have gotten that personal hearing with all those people (without) their due diligence," added Pearson. "Once again, we're looking out for (the residents) and trying to give everybody a better standard of living out here."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.