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Detroit Still Not At Full Power
Public School Classes Cancelled Again Backup To The Backup System Failed Crews Working 16-Hour Shifts
DETROIT AP Many Detroit traffic lights are still without power.
(CBS) The power's still out in many parts of Detroit.
Officials couldn't predict when full power would be restored as an electrical failure, which caused blackouts at city office buildings, schools and jails, stretched into its third day Thursday.
Mayor Dennis Archer's office says power has been restored to 72 percent of the 14 hundred customers served by the Public Lighting System.
"The reality is, the backup to the backup failed and that never happened before," mayoral spokesman Gregory Bowens said.
Classes are out again today in the Detroit Public Schools.
Detroit schools spokesman Stan Childress says the 170 thousand students will miss classes for a second day in row.
Wayne County and Detroit Public Schools officials said Wednesday that the ordeal has prompted them to considering getting their power from another source.
"I do not see why the city taxpayers should have a power system that jeopardizes street lighting and that costs more to operate than is necessary," David Adamany, interim Detroit schools chief executive, told the Detroit Free Press.
At the Harriet Tubman senior center, which had its power restored Wednesday afternoon, residents have been gathering in the building's only air conditioned room. Temperatures in Detroit reached 88 degrees Wednesday.
"I'm miserable. My room is like an oven," Elouise Williams, 55, told the Detroit News. "Last night was terrible. There was nothing to do except fan myself and smoke cigarettes."
Crews working 16-hour shifts went door to door to restore power to the city's municipal electric system, which broke down Monday and caused outages Tuesday.
"It's a very sort of manual labor-intensive effort," Bowens said. "Instead of racing to full power so that administrators can have air conditioning and spending all our resources, time and energy on that, we want to get to the critical services and maintain them."
The outage hit at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday and trapped people in elevators and on elevated trains, turning some intersections into traffic free-for-alls at rush hour.
Detroit Edison officials said they had warned the city's Detroit Power and Lighting Department that it needed to cut its use of electricity after one feeder line failed.
Police headquarters and the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building were operating on backup power, Bowens said. All 17,000 city employees were told to report to work Wednesday, whether or not their buildings are without electricity, he said.
City employees were told to call early Thursday to find out if they should report to work. Even some jurors were told not to report Thursday.
Most homes and businesses in the city get service from Detroit Edison. But hundreds of public agencies rely on the municipal system.
One of three tie-lines connecting the Public Lighting Department to Detroit Edison power supplies failed Monday. Repairs were under way when a second tie-line failed and, when the remaining line could not handle the load, the city's entire generating system shut down about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, Archer said.
Wayne State University researchers estimated the outage ruined $150,000 of DNA samples used in genetics research, The Detroit News reported.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), June 15, 2000
Jun 15, 2000 - 07:47 PM
Crews Restore Detroit's Municipal Electric System Two Days After Outage By Andrea Cecil Associated Press Writer
DETROIT (AP) - After a steamy, two-day blackout, repair crews got Detroit's municipal power system working and started the electricity flowing again Thursday to buildings, streetlights and traffic signals. As the lights slowly came back on, elected officials reacted bitterly and demanded explanations. Others wondered whether the extended blackout - like a snowstorm in 1999 that paralyzed Detroit - would hurt its image as a city on the mend.
"It brings back a series of images," said Comerica Bank chief economist David Littmann. "Understand, there are a lot of positive things going on in Detroit. But these events offset the positive, restorative image."
Most homes and businesses in the city get service from Detroit Edison, but hundreds of public agencies rely on the municipal system.
Crews had worked 16-hour shifts since Tuesday in temperatures sometimes nearing 90 degrees to restore power.
"All buildings connected to our power grid are receiving power," Mayor Dennis Archer said at a Thursday news conference. "People can resume normal electric usage."
Workers coursed electricity through the city's 30 substations one by one Thursday, then slowly routed it to sites affected by the outage. Archer said all of the substations are operational.
"You'll know it's all fixed for good when all buildings are juiced up and working properly," mayoral spokesman Greg Bowens said. "On Tuesday, we were in emergency or critical condition. Today it's fair to say we're in stable condition as we bring things back on."
While calling the repairs a long-term fix, Bowens implored residents to go easy on electricity usage to avoid immediately overburdening it, saying even the lights in Archer's office have been dimmed for the time being.
Bowens said there were no reports of outage-related deaths or crime.
One of three tie-lines connecting the Public Lighting Department to Detroit Edison failed on Monday. Repairs were under way when a second line failed. The remaining line could not handle the load, and the whole system shut down Tuesday afternoon.
At its peak, the outage affected 4,500 buildings, 42,000 of the 80,000 street lights and 1,250 traffic signals.
The outage forced Detroit's public schools to close Wednesday and Thursday, giving 170,000 students two days off.
School officials said the outage has them considering getting power from another source.
"I do not see why the city taxpayers should have a power system that jeopardizes street lighting and that costs more to operate than is necessary," said David Adamany, Detroit schools chief executive.
Assistant Wayne County Executive Mary Zuckerman said the county also would re-evaluate its power source.
City Councilwoman Kay Everett questioned why the council was not briefed about the cause more quickly. The council subpoenaed the Public Lighting Department's chief to explain, but the mayor appeared in his place.
Everett said the line that first failed was at least 50 years old and near collapse even before the outage, but "if someone knew about it that could have done something about it, then the heads should roll."
She said upgrading the system could cost about $160 million.
Tracey Silas had to leave work early Tuesday to pick up 6-year-old son Joshua from school. Two days later, he said, "It could be a lot worse than it is." But his wife, Monique, said the mayor handled the outage "very poorly."
Wayne State University researchers said the outage ruined $150,000 of DNA samples used in genetics research, The Detroit News reported.
At the Harriet Tubman senior center, residents gathered in the building's only air-conditioned room during the blackout.
"I'm miserable. My room is like an oven," Elouise Williams, 55, told the News. "Last night was terrible. There was nothing to do except fan myself and smoke cigarettes
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 15, 2000.