Jackson, Mich. (WLNS) — Restoration is expected to be complete by late today for the remaining 37,000 Consumers Energy customers without power after a series of thunderstorms swept across Michigan earlier this week.
“Our crews have worked through the night to put us in a good position this morning to complete restoration later today,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric operations. “We know this has been a frustrating time for our customers, but we won’t rest until everyone is safely restored.”
As of 6:30 a.m. Saturday, approximately 37,000 customers remained without service across Michigan, with about 50 percent of them in Branch and Calhoun counties.
Packard said all remaining customers are expected to have power back by late Saturday.Updated outage information is available at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap .
Since Tuesday afternoon, more than 270,000 customers have been affected by the severe weather which brought winds exceeding 70 mph, toppling trees along with nearly 5,000 electric wires, and breaking more than 300 poles. More than 2,000 Consumers Energy employees, in-state contractors and crews from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama are involved in the restoration effort. Roles range from lineworkers and damage assessors to call center representatives and forestry crews.
Packard said this morning, 64 crews that were released by neighboring energy provider DTE after completing their storm restoration tasks are joining the Consumers Energy effort. He thanked DTE for their assistance in having these out of state contractor crews transfer to Consumers Energy’s system before traveling to their home sites Other in-state utility assistance included 21 crews from Indiana Michigan Power and three crews from Hillsdale and Clinton municipal power companies.
Customers can report an outage, check the status of an outage and get useful tips what to do after a storm by visiting www.ConsumersEnergy.com/OutageCenter. Customers can also sign up to get outage alerts and restoration times sent to a phone, email or text message, Text ‘REG’ to 232273 or visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/alerts.
Packard urged customers and the public to stay at least 25 feet away from downed wires, keep children or pets away, and report the issue by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050. Consumers Energy crews are taking extra health and safety precautions because of the COVID-19 situation and asks the public to keep at least six feet of distance from its crews.
Consumers Energy also continues to remind the public to keep these important safety tips in mind:
· Be alert to crews working along roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.
· Call 2-1-1 if you are looking for help connecting to temporary shelter or other resources that offer assistance in your community. 2-1-1 is a free statewide service.
· Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement, enclosed patio or near any air intakes. Doing so could cause a generator to produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas.
· Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.
· In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customer’s home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.