For one Detroit couple, a six-day power outage and $600 setback

August 18, 2021, 12:00 AM

After six long, dark days, the power has finally come back on for a Detroit family, but not without financial setback.

Artavia and James Ballard, a 21-year-old mother and 32-year-old step-father featured in a Tuesday Detroit News story, said they lost $400 in groceries to last week's storms that left almost a million Michigan homes and businesses without power. That was in addition to $225 they had to spend on battery-powered oxygen tanks for Artavia's 1- and 3-year-old children, both born prematurely. The outage forced them to seek refuge at an aunt's, with at least one stint in the car "to avoid being a burden," The News reported.

The family also reportedly took a hit from heavy rains in late June, which totaled Artavia's car as she drove along I-94 and flooded the basement. 

Power to the family's home, near W. Warren and Livernois, was restored at 3 a.m. Tuesday, Artavia said — but only partially. 

"Some circuits in the house work and some don't," she told Deadline Detroit in a Facebook message. "I have an extension cord for the refrigerator because the circuits in the kitchen do not work. The bathroom light does not work. The basement lights do not work."

DTE is due back out Wednesday to take a look. The company and Consumers Energy have said they'll make outage credits available to qualifying customers, but Attorney General Dana Nessel has urged additional support for those who've lost food or required alternative housing.

Said Artavia Ballard, "There is no one to blame ... but the state needs to get it together."

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