Release date- 03082015 - Hundreds of lineworkers and other personnel from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky are focused on restoring power across Consumers Energy's territory after a devastating storm cut electricity to more than 150,000 customers Sunday.
From lineworkers to customer service representatives, more than 1,600 Consumers Energy employees and contractors are assisting in the storm restoration efforts. Crews from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky will arrive later today, allowing Consumers Energy crews to augment restoration work in northern Michigan, where the most damage occurred. Nearly 500 employees and contractors are focused on restoring power in Northwest Michigan. However, because of the extent of the damage from wind, lightning and hail the size of softballs, power will not be restored to all customers in the northern portion of Michigan's lower peninsula until late afternoon Thursday.
'It is all hands on deck as we work to safely but quickly restore power to our customers,' said Mary Palkovich, the company's vice president of energy delivery. 'We are working around the clock, pulling in all resources, to get the work done. We appreciate our customers' continued patience.'
Residents with concerns about staying in their home during an extended outage are encouraged to call 2-1-1 to learn about available resources, including shelters.
Since 11 a.m. Sunday, more than 150,000 Consumers Energy customers have been affected by the storm-related outages.
Damage assessment is ongoing but it is anticipated most of the affected customers will have their power restored by late Wednesday. In the harder hit areas of Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Ogemaw counties, complete restoration is not expected until late Thursday.
The public is encouraged to check regularly for updated restoration information at the online outage map at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap, where outages can also be reported and power outage information is available. The online map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices.
Palkovich reminded customers to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines and anything they are touching and to immediately call 911 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
As of 11:30 a.m. Monday, more than 90,000 customers remained without power. Counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Alcona (2,587); Allegan (182); Antrim (3,046); Arenac (4,191); Barry (123); Bay (677); Benzie (246); Branch (212); Calhoun (339); Cheboygan (153); Clare (1,892); Crawford (1,924); Genesee (5,424); Gladwin (1,525); Grand Traverse (7,378); Ionia (572); Iosco (5,050); Kalkaska (2,255); Kent (8,310); Leelanau (7,374); Manistee (800); Midland (260); Missaukee (3,635); Monroe (174); Montcalm (1,419); Muskegon (4,781); Newaygo (393); Ogemaw (7,734); Osceola (1,854); Oscoda (1,464); Ottawa (369); Roscommon (5,911); St. Joseph (447) and Wexford (6,522).
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.
Consumers Energy officials also offered the following advice:
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.
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 company's electric distribution system.
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 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.