Restoration Progress Continues Overnight from Ice Storm; 4 a.m. Update
Jackson, Mich. Monday, December 23, 2013
Improving weather conditions have allowed for steady restoration progress overnight as Consumers Energy responds to the weekend ice storm which cut power to more than 260,000 of its customers.
“The calmer weather overnight has allowed us to progress in making more areas safe and restoring power,” said Mary Palkovich, the utility’s vice president of energy delivery. “We expect to have additional utility workers on the system during Monday to supplement our efforts. We’re working around the clock to get the lights back on.”
Consumers Energy cautions residents to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately by calling 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050. The utility also reminds customers to be alert to utility crews working along roads and urges drivers to take extra precautions in those situations. In particular, drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past utility workers and equipment on roadsides.
Statewide, about 201,000 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service. Since noon Saturday, more than 262,000 customers have been affected by weather-related outages.
Currently, more than 1,500 Consumers Energy employees and contractors are focused on the storm restoration effort, from line workers to call center representatives and damage assessors. More than 800 additional workers are on their way to Michigan to assist in the restoration. Many of those workers will be in place later today.
As of 4 a.m., areas most affected by electric interruptions were: Allegan (4,867); Barry (17,636); Calhoun (10,476); Clinton (11,003); Eaton (14,615); Genesee (61,766); Gratiot (3,707); Ingham (14,383); Ionia (5,671); Jackson (1,788); Kalamazoo (5,690); Kent (18,488); Livingston (3,377); Montcalm (1,714); Oakland (3,415); Ottawa (1,418); Saginaw (1,307) and Shiawassee (19,718).
Customers who call Consumers Energy to report a power outage are encouraged to use the utility’s automated reporting option, available at 1-800-477-5050. The service provides restoration information for each substation and circuit, and can be used to report an outage. Outages can also be reported and restoration information obtained via Consumers Energy’s online outage map, at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. The outage map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices. Additional storm and power outage information is available at Consumers Energy’s online outage center, www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outage.
Currently, the estimated power restoration schedule for the hardest hit areas is:
Tuesday: Allegan, northern Kent and Saginaw counties;
Wednesday: Gratiot, Ionia, Montcalm and eastern Kent counties;
Thursday: Kalamazoo County, western Kent County and greater Grand Rapids;
Friday: Barry, Calhoun and Shiawassee counties;
Saturday: Some portions of Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Livingston, Oakland and Ottawa counties.
In addition Consumers Energy is sharing estimated restoration updates on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/consumersenergymichigan.
Customers who lose electricity for an extended period of time can dial 2-1-1 to receive emergency shelter information or to request assistance. Before going to a shelter, residents are asked to contact their local emergency management office to confirm the availability of services. Please do not call 9-1-1 or 2-1-1 for power restoration estimates.
If using a generator, contact a licensed electrician to ensure that it is properly connected and, for the safety of our line workers and first responders, make certain it is isolated from the utility’s electric distribution system. Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement or near any air intakes, and never fuel a generator when it is running. People should never use ovens, propane grills, etc. to heat their homes, for risk of potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning. Purchasing carbon monoxide detectors is strongly recommended.
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. Utility 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 utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information regarding Consumers Energy, go to: www.ConsumersEnergy.com or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/consumersenergymichigan
Media Contacts: Roger Morgenstern, 616/530 4364 or Brian Wheeler, 517/788 2394
The next storm update will be at approximately 11:30 a.m.