This has been a challenging year for just about every entity and schools are no exception. Unfortunately, Almont Community Schools was thrown an extra curveball last month when a wind storm toppled trees that took out power lines. A power outage and surge ensued and everything from boilers and lights to kitchen equipment and emergency systems were severely damaged at Almont Middle and Orchard Primary schools.
Students and staff in those buildings, who had been engaged in in-person learning, had to work and learn from home for more than three weeks while parts were being sourced and repairs were made. Families were undoubtedly inconvenienced by this closure and teachers had to pivot from their lesson plans too.
This was not an isolated event. School staff estimate there have been roughly seven power-related incidents within school buildings over the last 15 years with this most recent event being the biggest and most costly.
Considering the ongoing and persistent nature of power issues within the school district and greater Almont community as well, it was perplexing that DTE Energy wasn’t initially responsive to November’s incident. We’re glad to learn that they have since remedied that and met twice with school officials and toured the schools to see the damage themselves. It appears they are committed to offering tangible ways to protect Almont Schools from future surges and compensate the district for their losses.
Hopefully, that commitment will extend to the greater community as well and meaningful progress can be made in 2021 on a new substation that can better handle the growing demand for electricity. The company has said they anticipate starting construction of the substation in April.
All of Almont deserves safe and reliable electric service that has seemed elusive now for many years.