News Release

Restoration Work Progresses as Additional Crews Arrive to Assist Consumers Energy in Ice Storm Recovery; 9:30 p.m. Update

Jackson, Mich. Monday, December 23, 2013

With additional crews arriving by the hour, Consumers Energy and its fellow utility workers from across the country are progressing on restoration work from this weekend’s ice storm.

“We expect to have all the out-of-state crews working on our system Wednesday and many have already begun arriving,” said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy delivery. “We appreciate the outside assistance we are receiving and our customer’s continued patience as we go about this challenging task in a safe manner.”

More than 1,500 Consumers Energy and contractor office and field employees are dedicated to power restoration work currently. The crews from 11 states and Washington, D.C. are adding another 1,000 men and women to those ranks.

As of 9:30 p.m., approximately 183,000 customers were without power. In all, the storm caused more than 303,000 outages.

As of 9:30 p.m., areas most affected by electric interruptions were: Allegan (3,326); Barry (17,545); Calhoun (9,690); Clinton (9,274); Eaton (16,097); Genesee (65,479); Gratiot (3,334); Ingham (16,094); Ionia (4,962); Kalamazoo (4,922); Kent (6,083); Livingston (3,636); Oakland (3,591) and Shiawassee (20,246).

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 public also should be alert to utility crews working along roads, and drivers should 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. In addition, especially in the greater Flint and Lansing areas, drivers should approach intersections with non-working traffic lights or railroad crossing signals with extra caution.

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. As damage assessment results are collected, estimated restoration times may be updated.

Currently, the estimated power restoration schedule for the hardest hit areas is:
Tuesday: Saginaw County;
Wednesday: Allegan, Ionia, Gratiot, eastern Kent, northern Kent and Montcalm 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. Restoration times may be affected by additional storm activity.

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. A link to warming shelters currently operated by the American Red Cross is available at http://app.redcross.org/nss-app/ or by clicking on the “warming shelters” link within the top screen banner at www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

Individuals are encouraged to check on elderly neighbors and family members who have limited mobility to see if they need assistance. 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 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.

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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

The next storm update will be at approximately 4 a.m.


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