Weathering the Storm

A Letter from the President

Simon S. Whitelocke is the Vice President of ITC Holdings Corp., and President of ITC Michigan.

On March 8, 2017, Michigan residents across the state experienced an extraordinary weather event. Though the skies were blue and not a drop of water fell from the sky, wind speeds climbed as high as 68 miles per hour in some areas of the state – not quite hurricane force, but close. The winds kicked into high gear that morning and continued throughout most of the day. And as they did we saw the number of people without power rapidly climb to more than 1 million.

At ITC we were closely monitoring the weather conditions, and staying in constant communication with our field crews throughout the day. Fortunately, ITC’s Michigan systems remained resilient with only a few momentary outages (outages less than 60 seconds and automatically restored) and no sustained customer outages.

As I reflect back on that day I can’t help but think what a huge testament it is to all of the hard work that’s been done over the last 14 years to strengthen our systems – from proactive maintenance, to rebuilding aging infrastructure to keeping our corridors clear of vegetation interference. All of these efforts combined have resulted in a system that is more resilient and reliable than it was at our inception.

Among other things, over the years ITC has:

  • Conducted semi-annual aerial and annual foot patrols of its systems to visually identify maintenance or vegetation concerns
  • Implemented a time-based and reliability-centered maintenance program
  • Deployed new technologies to monitor system components, allowing for faster response times
  • Replaced nearly 3,000 wood poles at their end of life with modern steel poles
  • Performed significant outreach to communities and residents to inform and educate them about corridor-appropriate plantings and vegetation hazards
  • Rebuilt hundreds of miles of aging infrastructure

While ITC was fortunate to weather the storm unscathed, we knew that our customers were being deeply impacted. Restoring power to more than 1 million people would not be an easy task. ITC worked closely with customers during the recovery process, and provided mutual assistance crews and vegetation contractors to assist with their efforts, some traveling from as far as our ITC Midwest footprint. At the end of the day, we are all in this together to make sure the lights stay on.

As we head into the summer months, warm temperatures will present a different set of weather-related challenges. But thanks to the effort and investment we’ve put into our Michigan systems, we’ll be ready to face those 90+ degree days just as we weathered the wind storm. 


Simon S. Whitelocke
Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp. and President, ITC Michigan