DTE crews head to Puerto Rico to restore power

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

DTE Energy work crews Monday are about to begin their trip to Puerto Rico to help restore power on the Caribbean island. 

Members of DTE Energy's corporate media department photograph fellow employees as they prepare the company's trucks at its Detroit service center on Livernois and Warren to depart to Puerto Rico on Dec. 26, 2017.

Their departure comes about a month after the energy company sent about 45 of its trucks to Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20, 2017.

The Category 4 hurricane ripped through the island, causing more than 60 deaths and as much as $95 billion in damage.

About 50 DTE linemen and 30 additional personnel — including mechanics, logistical support, supervisors, damage assessors, engineers and administrative support staff — will join counterparts from 18 other U.S. energy companies in the effort.

The group first gathered at the Highland Grille on Highland Road in Waterford Township and left from the Oakland County International Airport.

Their trucks left the electric company’s service center on Livernois and Warren in Detroit for Norfolk, Virginia, after Christmas. Once in Virginia, they were put on a barge that sailed for Puerto Rico.

Officials said the crew's arrival on the island is timed to coincide with the barge's arrival. 

Based in Detroit, DTE Energy operates an electric utility that serves 2.2 million customers in Southeast Michigan and a natural gas utility that serves 1.2 million customers across the state. The company has a total workforce of about 10,000 employees.