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Overnight storms knock out power for 200,000 customers

Christian Holl www.rad-lab.net (via Flickr)
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/59326591@N03/14086155389

More than 200,000 Consumers Energy customers are waking up in the dark this morning, following severe storms that impacted Michigan overnight.

“Mother Nature delivered a powerful punch to Michigan. Now, Consumers Energy’s crews will be working to repair damage and restore power to customers who count on us,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations. “Our crews will be working around the clock this week to turn the lights back on for everyone who was affected by this devastating storm.”

Overnight, storms with winds as high as 70 mph affected the state, knocking down trees and branches, and taking down power lines.

Other power companies and cooperatives are reporting outages as well. According to its website, Great Lakes Energy had more than 20,000 customers without power at 6:45am Wednesday. Homeworks Tri-County, Cherryland Electric and DTE Energy also have scattered outages, according to their websites.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to restore power as quickly and safely as we can,” Packard said. “We also are watching for the prospect of more storms later tonight and we encourage people to take steps to stay safe and be ready for the possibility of additional power outages.”

According to Consumers, people should stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, and keep children and pets away. The company says all downed powerlines should be reported to 9-1-1, and to Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.

If you are without power, Consumers Energy is offering some other 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Call 2-1-1 if you are looking for help connecting to resources that offer assistance in your community. 2-1-1 is a free statewide service.
  • Power companies 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.
Mike Horace is WCMU's Radio Program and Operations Manager.