News Release

Ice Storm Restoration Continues for Consumers Energy Customers

Jackson, Mich. Saturday, December 28, 2013

12 noon Update

Restoration work is continuing for Consumers Energy customers impacted by last weekend’s devastating ice storm and those affected by ice melting off trees and equipment from Friday’s and today’s warmer weather.

As of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, approximately 18,000 Consumers Energy customers remained without service. Since noon Saturday, Dec. 21, the storm has caused 409,000 outages, or nearly 23 percent of the utility’s 1.8 million electric customers.

More than 3,000 office and field workers from Consumers Energy, 13 different states and Washington, D.C. are focused on the restoration effort from one of the largest storms in the utility’s 126-year history.

Consumers Energy is reminding the public that information is available online to check on the status of remaining outages.

People can report outages and obtain restoration information through Consumers Energy’s online outage map, www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. The map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices.

Additional information – including answers to frequently asked questions -- is available at Consumers Energy’s online outage center, www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outage.

“As expected, we have had scattered power outages from the ice-thawing Friday and today,” said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy delivery. “We thank our customers for their continued patience and thank all of our crews and employees for their hard work.”

As of 11:30 a.m., counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Barry (3,667); Clinton (1,029); Eaton (1,076); Genesee (5,522); Ingham (1,965); Ionia (468); Livingston (570); Oakland (687) and Shiawassee (3,076). The majority of customers are expected to be restored by the end of Saturday.

Consumers Energy is stressing four public safety tips as power outages continue:

  • Reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning: Home generator safety is critical.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is potentially fatal. Never use a generator indoors, in a garage, basement or near any air intakes and never fuel a generator when it is running. Ensure that it is properly connected by a licensed electrician and, for the safety of line workers and first responders, make certain it is isolated from the utility’s electric distribution system.

    People should never use ovens, propane grills, etc. to heat their homes, because it could cause potentially fatal CO poisoning. Purchasing CO detectors is strongly recommended.

    Symptoms of CO poisoning often mimic the flu, and include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and stinging or burning of the eyes. Prolonged exposure can cause disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness and ultimately death.

  • Drivers should use extreme caution in areas without power: Some road intersections have non-working traffic signals. Stop at intersections and make sure it is safe to proceed before entering the intersection or crossing a railroad line. Michigan law requires that these intersections be considered four-way stops. The public also should be alert to utility crews working along roads.

  • Downed wire safety: This storm has produced a record number of downed power lines. If you see a downed wire, stay 25 feet away and call 1-800-477-5050 immediately. Never touch anything a power line may be touching.

  • Keep pipes from freezing: With below freezing temperatures returning, residents without power who have municipal-provided water are encouraged to open their faucets for a constant drip to help keep pipes from freezing.

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.

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 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.

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.

Media toolkit
PHOTOS:
View and download photos of storm restoration work:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy/11535574556/

VIDEO: Watch a video of Kate Leese, Consumers Energy emergency management coordinator, discussing important public safety tips:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mW0aEipd7o&feature=youtu.be


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 Debra Dodd, 517-545-8711

PLEASE NOTE: The next storm update will be at approximately 4:30 p.m. Saturday


Back to News Releases