NewsMorning News

Actions

Thousands still without power across West Michigan

Posted: 2:04 AM, Jul 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-21 22:08:24-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Many Consumers Energy and Great Lakes Energy customers remain in the dark thanks to storms that swept through the area early Saturday morning.

The hardest-hit areas are Kent, Newaygo, and Mecosta Counties.

Between the three more than 200,000 homes and businesses lost power.

Many other counties are also impacted.

As of 10:00 p.m. Sunday, Consumers Energy reported that about service to 160,000 customers has been restored. 60,000 Customers are still without electrical service in Michigan.

Great Lakes Energy said they had more than 2,200 members in 15 counties still without electrical service Sunday afternoon.

"...we are working diligently to restore their power as quickly and safely as we possibly can,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric operations. “We sincerely appreciate our customers’ patience, and continue to encourage people to check in on family, friends and neighbors, and seek out cooling centers or other resources in their communities as needed.”

“We encourage those affected by the storm to seek alternative ways of staying cool during the extreme temperatures our state is experiencing, including staying hydrated and visiting cooling shelters if needed, a list of which is available by calling 2-1-1. We also appreciate friends, family and neighbors checking on one another, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, during this time,” Packard said. They estimate power will be restored late Tuesday.

More than 2,800 downed wires have been attributed to the storm so far. Packard urged customers and the general public to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, keep children or pets away, and report the issue by calling 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.

“Our number one focus is to keep the public, our customers and our employee and contractor crews safe as we work 16-hour days to assist us in our restoration efforts. We know how frustrating it is to not have electric service, and we won’t stop until all of our neighbors have power,” Packard said.

Consumers Energy urges the public to keep these important safety tips in mind:

  • 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.
  • Be alert to utility 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.
  • 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.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to safely and quickly get the lights turned back on,” said Brian Zionskowski, a journeyman lineworker for Consumers Energy from Traverse City. “Our crews cannot stress enough that every downed power line should be treated as ‘live.’ Trying to move or clear one may put you in danger; instead, please call 9-1-1 and we’ll take care of it as quickly as possible.”

Consumers Energy customers can 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 .

Customers can also 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 .

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.

Meanwhile, Great Leaks Energy said most of the damage to its power lines due to the storm is in parts of Allegan, Barry, Lake and Osceola counties.

All available Great Lakes Energy crews were working to restore power to the remaining estimated just more than 2,200 members.  Restoration progress will depend on the more storms that are expected to move through the area later on.

"It is anticipated that restorations efforts for some areas will continue into Sunday," Lacey Matthews, Communications & Marketing Manager for Great Lakes Energy said. "Members who are still without power at midnight tonight, could be without power overnight and may want to make alternate arrangements if they require power."

Great Lakes Energy members can get current outage information by counties and ZIP codes, which is updated on the Great Lakes Energy website at www.gtlakes.com by visiting Storm Central.

Great Lakes Energy members can report their power outage by calling 1-888-485-2537.