JACKSON, Mich., June 12, 2020 – Consumers Energy crews continue working to restore power to less than 90,000 remaining homes and businesses affected by severe thunderstorms that swept across Michigan this week.
“We know it’s been a challenging several days for our customers still without power and we greatly appreciate their patience,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy vice president for electric operations. “We have more than 300 electric crews working in the field today to get the lights back on. We’ll work around the clock until the job is done.”
A third wave of thunderstorms moved across central Michigan Thursday evening, causing another 600 outages affecting 25,000 customers from Muskegon east to Saginaw. Since Tuesday afternoon, more than 270,000 customers have been affected by the severe weather.
As of 11:45 a.m. Friday, about 85,000 customers remained without service. The majority of the remaining customers will be restored by the end of Friday. Work in areas with heavier damage, including customers in Branch, Calhoun, Kent, Jackson and Saginaw counties, will continue into Saturday.
This week’s storms brought winds exceeding 70 mph, toppling trees along with nearly 5,000 electric wires, and breaking more than 300 poles. Nearly 2,000 Consumers Energy employees, in-state contractors and crews from Kentucky, Indiana and Alabama are involved in the restoration effort. They include lineworkers and damage assessors to call center representatives and forestry crews.
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.