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Scattered Power Outages Still Trouble Michigan - 2003-08-16

Nearly all Americans who lost electricity Thursday afternoon in a massive blackout have their power restored. There are still scattered outages in Michigan. Utility officials in that state are warning people of more blackouts, unless they conserve energy during the next few days.

On Saturday morning, the head of DTE Energy said his company had restored power to all 2.1 million of its customers who lost electricity in the blackout. DTE serves the city of Detroit and a large part of Southeast Michigan. There were scattered outages reported Saturday, but they were said to be unrelated to the massive blackout.

A spokesman for the utility is cautioning people in Michigan that the return or their electricity does not mean all is well. DTE is urging people not to use their air conditioners just yet. The company says it cannot generate enough power to meet the expected demand during the next couple of days. DTE says it might have to impose periodic blackouts in parts of the state, if too much demand is placed on the region's power system.

Officials in Michigan are also urging people to conserve water. Some communities in the state still have low water pressure, because they have not been able to bring their purification plants up to full capacity. In the city of Detroit and some nearby suburbs, officials are asking people to boil their water for five minutes, to be sure it is safe to drink. This order remains in effect through next Wednesday.

There were more signs on Saturday that Michigan was returning to normal. Most gasoline stations were open, as were supermarkets and other shops. Officials at Detroit Metro Airport expected airlines to fly a full schedule on Saturday.

They did expect more passengers than usual, as people whose flights were canceled Thursday and Friday tried to catch planes on Saturday. And in Detroit, the annual Michigan State Fair opened Saturday. It is the nation's oldest state fair. This year's opening was delayed by one day because of the blackout.