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Officials testify in support of utility worker safety resolution

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Utility workers deserve the same protection and respect from drivers that police, firefighters and construction workers receive. That was the message delivered today to the Michigan House Energy and Technology Committee by Vince Dow, DTE Energy vice president and chief engineer of distribution operations, and Dean Bradley, business manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 17.

Committee Chairman Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, invited the officials to testify in support of House Resolution 330, which would establish Dec. 6 as "Utility Worker Safety Awareness Day." The resolution urges drivers to "slow down and go around" utility workers, just as they do for police, fire trucks and ambulances.

Dow told the committee that safety is the highest priority at DTE Energy, and while the company and employees work hard to minimize risks, utility workers face inherent dangers on the job. "I have been in this industry for over 30 years," he said. "Sadly, I have lost coworkers in their efforts to provide energy to the public we serve.  I have been with families that have lost sons and loved ones dedicated to providing our service to the residents of this great state.  I have also been threatened by passing vehicles and dangerous situations and I can tell you that the memory of these things stays with me."

Dow thanked the committee for brining attention to this issue. "We are proud that you are considering honoring the men and women who deliver these essential services to the communities we serve.  We have long believed that protecting the public even in those dangerous situations is an obligation and privilege that we embrace.  Working on a road side with cars whipping by as you are trying to repair or install energy service can be treacherous."

Bradley also praised the committee for raising awareness about the danger that vehicles can pose to the linemen and other workers represented by the IBEW.  "The men and women of IBEW put themselves in danger every day in order to ensure the reliability and safety of the electrical system," he said. "It's critical that drivers proceed with caution when they approach a utility crew working in or near a roadway. Our members work hard to eliminate hazards on the job, for their safety and the public's safety. Drivers need to do their part to make sure everyone goes home safely and healthy at the end of the day."

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, MichCon, a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan and other non-utility, energy businesses focused on gas storage and pipelines, unconventional gas production, power and industrial projects, and energy trading. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

SOURCE DTE Energy

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