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Thousands in Montcalm County without power

Courtesy of Unsplash

As of this afternoon, nearly 14,000 Consumers Energy customers in Montcalm County remain without power after yesterday’s winter storm.

People have been using their cars to stay warm and charge phones. The county says they have not received any requests to access warming centers.

Montcalm County Emergency Management says they have 30 possible sites, ranging from Churches to American Legion offices.

Emergency Manager Assistant Jerry McCoy said he’s been with the county emergency management off and on since 1980.

He mentioned that people of this county rely on each other in times of need and historically don’t take full advantage of services.

"We open up a shelter we advertise it and people come over and say what's going on here and they might grab a Red Cross sandwich or Salvation Army sandwich and then go home," said McCoy on a call with WCMU.

If people are in need of a warming center or any other assistance caused by the power outage, McCoy says they should call 211, a human services information helpline

"If somebody doesn't have food, they can call 211. If their house burned down and they don't have a place to go, they can call 211 [or] If they need a warming center," said McCoy.

In a statement, Consumers Energy says they are keeping 600 crews, ones crews from four other states, on board who were used during last week's ice storm that hit southern Michigan to repair damaged power lines. But getting power back up north may take time as crews are finishing up.

“We are focused on restoring the customers that have been impacted the longest in Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Washtenaw and Lenawee counties, then moving our crews north to aid in restoration efforts already taking place, mainly from Grand Rapids up toward Big Rapids and across to the Flint area,” said Amanda Wagenschutz, one of Consumers Energy’s officers in charge for the event. “We will continue to work around the clock to return electric service and normalcy to our customers who have been demonstrating grace and patience throughout the course of these storm events.”

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.