If there is a winner in the misfortune of thousands of area residents being without power for several days, it’s the local hotels housing those who lost electricity this week.
The hospitality lounge at the on 12 Mile in Novi was packed this morning, mostly with people who have been without power for two or three days.
Enjoying pancakes, eggs and a variety of other breakfast foods, the hotel guests appeared to be taking their predicaments in stride.
“I was really angry at first and said some things you can’t print …,” said Adrien Chandler, a Bloomfield Township resident. “But now it’s resignation. We’re at the mercy of DTE and can’t do anything about it.”
DTE: All power restored by Monday
Some residents have been without power since high winds blew through during Wednesday’s Fourth of July holiday downed lines. Others lost electricity in the wee hours of Thursday morning. At its peak, the outage left about 325,000 DTE Energy electric customers without power. As of noon Saturday, about 40,000 were still without power, said Alejandro Bodipo-Memba, a spokesman for the company.
Bodipo-Memba said residents affected by the original storm should have power by midnight Saturday. "But that said, we we will get some individual or localized outages that will go into Sunday or Monday as well," he explained, adding that priority went to critical areas such as hosptials.
He said the extreme heat – with temperatures reaching 100-plus degrees – has been an added complication to the restoration. And in the past, extra help would have come sooner, but because of power outages throughout the country, the company was limited to just about 100 extra DTE employees from Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York assisting with line repairs.
Temperatures are expected to reach about 97 degrees in the area Saturday, but a "cool off" is on the horizon as temperatures locally are predicated to drop into the 80s.
Hotels see flood of customers
Senada Kajoshaj, who works the front desk at the Holiday Inn, said they expected a slow run because of the holiday. Just 20 rooms in the 92-room facility were booked on Thursday. Since then, 55 more rooms have been reserved, several through Monday.
"It's all power outages," she said. "Usaully we're all business people. We had no staff scheduled and had to call people in."
And while the last few days may have been a boon for hotels like the one in Novi, there are some businesses on the losing end.
“We’re lucky we have 100 some odd dollars to stay in a hotel,” said Larry Holman, owner of Gigante Catering in West Bloomfield, who said staying at home with his 6-month-old son in this heat was unthinkable.
He and Jamie Williams and four of their six sons spent Thursday night at the Hampton Inn in Commerce Township, but had to move over to the Holiday Inn because there were no rooms available for subsequent nights.
Holman said he’s hopeful the power will return soon so he can keep the commitment to catering jobs scheduled for Tuesday.
“We have insurance to cover the food loss, but this could be really bad for business,” he said.
Farmington Hills residents Diane and Dan Allen said their generator was keeping their food fresh and allowed them to have a few fans running, but the soaring temperatures were making the house unbearable.
“Our son is a Detroit firefighter and he had to get some rest. The house as getting hotter than all get out,” said Diane Allen.
So they booked him at the Holiday Inn and while Kevin Allen was out on his shift, Mom and Dad took advantage and hung out in his air-conditioned room.
Some of the hotel guests hailed from Detroit and as far away as Linden and Argentine, near Fenton.
“We wanted to go north, but we called places as far as Birch Run and they were booked, so then we headed this way,” ” said Angela Queen, of Linden. “We stayed home the first night, but then just couldn’t handle it anymore. We couldn’t even flush.”
The waiting game continues as residents continually check the DTE outage maps to see when they can return home.
“I’m not bitter or frustrated. It’s just the issues of life. You make the best of an unfortunate situation,” said Detroiter Raphael Davis, who was staying at the hotel with his family. “The earliest we’re going to be getting power is probably Sunday.”
That's just fine with his two young children and the other children at the hotel. To them, the unfortunate situation boiled down to having “their own rooms” and playtime in the pool.