DETROIT (AP) – Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Saturday urged consumers to curb their use of power, saying rolling blackouts were a distinct possibility.
DTE Energy says it has restored power to its 2.1 million customers, but the company continued to restore additional electrical capacity at its power plants.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Granholm said in a telephone interview from the Emergency Management Center in Romulus.
She said the current available power capacity in the region was 6,600 megawatts and “the system is not fully able to deliver a full load yet.”
Granholm said she had spoken with DTE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tony Earley on Saturday morning. The company projects that by 5 p.m. EDT, the peak load will be 8,700 megawatts.
“In other words, the available load will not meet the demand,” she said.
“This means that those who can, need to unplug their appliances, turn off their air conditioners and their sprinkler systems … so that we don’t overload the system.”
“If people don’t conserve, we will have rolling blackouts,” she said.
Crews restored power to nearly all parts of the state affected by the largest blackout in American history. By Saturday morning, only a few of the estimated 2.3 million customers affected Thursday remained without electricity.
Granholm, who will be attending the National Governors Association meeting in Indianapolis, has a busy weekend schedule. She will appear Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and on CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer.
In recent days, Granholm has also expressed concern about getting water flowing again to residents in southeast Michigan, with particular attention being paid to possible problems at the heavily populated area’s sewage treatment plants.
Wayne County officials on Friday said they received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency for a one-time dump from the Wyandotte sewage treatment facility into the Detroit River. County Executive Robert Ficano had said the dump was necessary because of low pump pressure and a build-up of waste.
That dump was just one of the hurdles state and county officials, as well as residents faced as a result of the blackout.
By Friday morning, the governor had declared a state of emergency in Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. The counties are all in the southeast corner of the state.
Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties already had declared local states of emergencies on Thursday.
An executive order signed by the governor Friday enabled gasoline from western Michigan to begin being shipped to the Detroit area, where the lack of electricity left most gas stations unable to pump gas. The move is expected to send nearly a million gallons of gasoline to southeast Michigan by Sunday.