Crews worked through the night to bring power back to thousands of customers affected by strong thunderstorms that swept across eastern Michigan Monday afternoon and evening.
Since Monday afternoon, more than 41,000 customers have been affected by weather related outages. Flint, Saginaw and Midland were among the hardest hit areas. During the night, crews assessed damage and made areas safe for the public while restoring power.
As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, areas most affected by electric interruptions were: Genesee (24,030); Midland (2,265) and Saginaw (1,700).
You can report an outage and check service restoration times by calling Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or visiting the online outage map with your computer or mobile device at http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Ben Franklin is credited with saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He also stood in a lightning storm looking to capture electricity.
With severe thunderstorms and high winds in this weekend’s forecast, we at Consumers Energy want you to be safe and know we’re preparing for possible power outages as well.
Our crews are ready should the weather get rough. We’re staffing up our headquarters starting tonight and additional company and contractor crews are on standby to quickly respond to any power outages caused by the storms.
“As the spring storm season continues in Michigan, we’re committed to doing everything we can to deliver safe, reliable energy service to our customers when severe weather hits. A wide range of company, contract personnel and equipment have been mobilized to rapidly respond to any customer power outages,” said Michele Kirkland, Consumers Energy vice president of Energy Operations.
Some important tips to help prepare for a storm include:
- Charge electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops, and have fresh batteries available for items such as flashlights and weather radios.
- Have a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food available, and don’t forget a first aid kit or any prescription medication if needed.
- During and after a storm, people are advised to stay at least 25 feet from any downed lines and assume that every line is “live” and dangerous. Residents are also reminded to not touch anything a power line may be touching, including trees, fences, other debris, and puddles.
- Report any downed wires by calling 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
- If flooding or another disaster should occur, check for the odor of natural gas before entering any area. If you think you smell this “rotten egg” odor, leave the area immediately and call 1-800-477-5050. Remember to replace any appliance submerged in water.
“Being prepared can help minimize the impact of a storm and can help you and your loved ones stay safe. That’s why it is so important to take time to make a plan to deal with severe weather during any season,” Kirkland added.
Customers who lose power should contact Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or online at http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com. Customers can report an outage, get outage information, including updated estimated restoration times, all on a detailed map available at http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. The map is accessible via both desktop computer and mobile devices.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
For those working alongside Michigan’s roadways, a work zone can quickly become a danger zone. As you hit the road this summer, remember to “slow down and go around” in all work zones, including where utility workers are present.
The June 22, 2012 death of our own journeyman lineworker Jeff Creel is a reminder of the dangers faced every day by our field employees. According to authorities, Creel was struck and killed by a vehicle as he was responding to a report of a downed power line near Jonesville. The driver was charged with a moving violation causing death in a work zone – a felony carrying a maximum of 15 years in prison and fines up to $7,500.
Family, friends and colleagues of Creel have worked tirelessly to honor his memory by increasing the public’s focus on work zone safety. Late last year, at the urging of individuals and employee groups, including Consumers Energy’s Hastings Service Center Grass Roots Safety Team, the Michigan House of Representatives passed Resolution 330, recognizing Dec. 6 as Utility Worker Safety Awareness Day.
“Drivers need to slow down as they go around utility workers and other personnel working in and along roadways. They’re doing this work to serve us. This is their work area and it needs to be kept safe,” said Michele Kirkland, Consumers Energy Vice President of Energy Operations.
In the past year, we have spent approximately $5 million to outfit field vehicles with special warning lights to draw even more attention to passing motorists. Employees also place cones and flags in work areas and wear reflective vests.
Thanks for your help in keeping Michigan roads safe for everyone.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
There’s an old saying that goes: It’s better to be prepared for that which does not come, then unprepared for that which does. And the Consumers Energy team is taking that to heart this week as we get ready for severe weather heading to Michigan. We encourage customers, homeowners and businesses to be prepared, too.
Strong to severe thunderstorms with lightning, damaging winds and hail are expected in Michigan today through Wednesday, which may cause power outages across the state.
We’re monitoring weather reports and mobilizing a wide range of company and contract personnel and equipment to be in place for a rapid response to any customer power outages. Preparing for a storm can lessen the impact of a storm and help you and your family or business stay safe and get back up and running quickly. A few tips to remember:
- Before a storm, we encourage residents to charge electronic devices and have fresh batteries for such things as flashlights and radios. It’s also good to have an ample supply of water and non-perishable food.
- During and after a storm, we advise everyone to stay at least 25 feet from any downed lines and assume that any line on the ground is “live” and dangerous.
- Report any downed wires by calling 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050. Never touch anything a power line may be touching including trees, fences and puddles.
- If you lose power, report it right away. Call us at 1-800-477-5050 or visit our outage map at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. You can access the map with your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. You also can get updated estimated restoration times via phone or online.
We’ll be working 24/7 to keep our employees and our communities safe, but we ask you to do your part: stay alert, be prepared and always remember safety first.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Each and every day, we strive to keep our communities and employees safe. As part of that commitment and due to an uptick of dog bites in the field, a new policy has been implemented to keep our employees safe on the job. While we realize that not all animals fall into this ‘aggressive’ category – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
There are now three meter reading codes that can be added to accounts of customers with dogs. They include:
- Customers who own dogs with no previous aggressive behavior must now restrain or contain their dog before the meter can be read.
- Accounts identified as premises with dogs known to be aggressive will require verification from the owner that the dog is restrained, or the meter will not be read.
- Customers with dogs that have exhibited aggressive behavior and who have bitten or otherwise injured an employee will only have their meter read with a police escort.
Additionally, customers have the option of reading their own meter and sharing the information with Consumers Energy. You can access or sign up for a free eServices account at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/eservices. Once enrolled, click on “My History,” then Energy Use, then on the Meter Reading Schedule tab. You also may get a meter reading schedule for your account by calling 1-800-477-5050.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy offers these 7 tips to keep Michigan residents safe in recognition of National Electrical Safety Month this May.
“It’s important that residents take time to become aware of the electric and natural gas facilities around them, both overhead and underground, to allow outdoor activities to be accomplished safely this spring,” said Daniel J. Malone, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of distribution and customer operations. “Part of our promise to Michigan includes working together for safer communities – and reminding citizens about safety hazards, both big and small, helps us keep that promise.”
As Michigan residents are venturing outside to work and play this spring and summer, Consumers Energy offers the following tips:
- Never fly a kite close to a power line – and if a kite does get stuck on a power line, do not attempt to remove it, as electric shock could be fatal
- Parents should ensure children never climb a utility pole or tree located near a power line
- Do not trim branches or trees near power lines themselves; call our forestry management professionals for a free estimate at (800) 582-4238 before starting a trimming project.
- Look up before moving ladders, long tools, or working around the outside of your home to ensure you never come within 10 feet of an overhead wire
- When planting a tree, be aware of the power lines and natural gas pipes that provide electricity and natural gas to your home and throughout your neighborhood
- Always call 811 at least three working days before doing any digging around your property to have underground facilities marked, free of charge
- Avoid planting tall-growing trees such as large maples, oaks and most pines under power lines
Additional details regarding planting trees, digging safely and keeping your family safe around electricity and natural gas this season can be found on the Consumers Energy website at: http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/safety.
National Electrical Safety Month is initiated by Electrical Safety Foundation International and is held each May to raise awareness about electrical hazards, which can cause electrical fires, injuries and death. Visit http://www.esfi.org for more information.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
May is National Electrical Safety Month and the following information from the National Safety Council can help you get started in assessing your workplace’s electrical safety knowledge.
Sound safety practices can help minimize electrical hazards and cut down the risk of accidents. The hazard of electricity cannot be eliminated, but it can be controlled through education and engineering. The more you understand about electrical energy, the safer you will be at work and home.
What causes electric shock?
You can get an electric shock if you touch a grounded surface and hazardous electrical equipment at the same time. The shock happens when the flow of electric current (amperage) from the electrical equipment goes through your body to the ground. How serious the injury depends on what part of your body receives the current. It also depends on how long the electric current flows. Just a small amount of amperage can hurt or be fatal.
12 Questions to Assess a Safe Workplace
- Are you aware only trained, qualified and authorized employees are permitted to work on electrical equipment?
- Has an electrician inspected the equipment, tools, machines and lights to make sure they operate according to electrical code requirements?
- Are extension cords and appliance cords in good repair and are properly rated for the way they are intended to be used?
- Are you using 3-prong receptacles for 3-prong plugs?
- Are you protecting yourself with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) in wet/damp areas like kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors?
- Are you protecting your equipment and home with circuit breakers?
- Are you closing electrical control panels and covering receptacle boxes?
- Do you avoid touching water, damp surfaces, ungrounded metal and bare wire if you are not protected?
- Do you avoid working in and around wet or damp conditions, equipment and electrical current that are not grounded, and wires that are not insulated?
- Do you use equipment and tools the way they are designed to be used?
- Do you report immediately any damage or defective equipment, power hand tools or machinery?
- Are you looking for posted signs that identify electrical hazards? Are you following lockout/tag out procedures?
Working Together for Safer Communities
Consumers Energy is a founding member of the National Safety Council for Industrial Safety at the 1912 Congress. The safety of our employees, customers and the public is a top priority at Consumers Energy. Learn more about safe digging, pipeline safety and storm safety at www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
Significant rain in the past week, coupled with several inches of additional rain expected Wednesday night into early Friday, has prompted flood watches and warnings across the state. Downed power lines in standing water conduct electricity, making for an extremely dangerous situation. Assume all downed wires are “live” and stay at least 25 feet away from them and any wet areas they may be contacting. Call Consumers Energy immediately at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency to report downed power lines.
“Downed wires may look harmless, but they’re not,” said Kate Burgers, the utility’s director of public safety. “Never touch anything a downed power line is touching, including water. Stay away and stay alive.”
Consumers Energy advises the public that if a flooded area is evacuated by local emergency management personnel, electricity and natural gas service will likely be shut off for safety reasons. After flooding recedes, check for the odor of gas before entering any areas. If gas is detected leave the area immediately and call 1-800-477-5050.Burgers, the utility’s director of public safety. “Never touch anything a downed power line is touching, including water. Stay away and stay alive.”
Consumers Energy is closely monitoring the weather situation and is in regular contact with local emergency management coordinators, especially in areas already experiencing flooding or where flooding is expected.
The American Red Cross is also encouraging residents living near flood-prone areas to stay alert, practice an evacuation plan, assemble an emergency preparedness kit and heed all official flood warnings. More information is available at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
In addition to the threat of flooding, the public is reminded what to do before, during and after a storm to stay safe.
“It’s important that we take time to plan for dealing with severe weather during all four seasons,” Burgers said. “Being prepared can minimize the impact of a storm and help you and your families stay safe.”
Before and after a storm hits, Consumers Energy encourages citizens and customers to consider the following tips:
- Keep enough supplies for 72 hours – food, water, medication, etc. Remember to have food that doesn’t require refrigeration or heating and copies of prescriptions as well as a first aid kit. Don’t forget food / water for pets as well.
- Keep flashlights, a portable radio and extra batteries handy. For safety, battery operated lights should be used instead of candles which can cause a fire.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms.
- Don’t use generators in enclosed areas (garages, breezeways) or near other air intakes for risk of CO poisoning.
- When using a generator, make sure it is properly installed by a licensed electrician, for the safety of line workers and other emergency responders who may come near power lines.
- Charge your electronics prior to the storm and switch to a battery saving mode if power is lost. Limit non-essential calls so your devices are available for emergency information or contacting 911.
During a Storm
- Stay at least 25 feet away from all downed wires and always assume they are “live.” Call Consumers Energy immediately at 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency to report downed power lines.
- Stay away from storm debris that might be entangled with power lines.
- Don’t touch anything a power line may be touching including trees, fences and puddles.
- Never go into an area with electrical-powered equipment where there is standing water.
- Visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com on your mobile device, which immediately displays helpful outage and storm related information, including the online outage map.
After a Storm
- Check on neighbors or family members who may have been affected by the storm.
- When safe to leave your home, check on neighbors or family members who may have been affected by the storm; especially those with specific concerns such as the elderly and individuals with infants, limited mobility or other special needs.
- Monitor your local radio station or Consumers Energy’s online outage map, www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap on your mobile device or desktop computer to get the most current power restoration information. The site allows customers to report an outage, get estimated restoration times for outages and view outages on a detailed map. Customers can also report power outages by calling Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
In the latest Consumers Energy newsletter for students and teachers in Michigan, company engineer Rose Kallio talks about volunteering and how she found her career in engineering.
“I bring up to them a quote by Henry Ford that I live by: ’whether you think you can or you can’t – you are right.’” – Rose Kallio, Consumers Energy employee and volunteer
You also can read how high schoolers are finding their careers through robotics, hear how more than 150 Cub Scouts earned the Energy Expert patch and create an experiment to learn how the force of water is used to generate electricity.
Carpe Vigorem ─ seize the energy! Read more in Carpe Vigorem ─ Spring 2013.
Looking for other fun ways to learn about energy education, check out our interactive games, in-school safety programs, lesson plans, coloring templates and other activities at the Consumers Energy Brain Station.
Providing energy education to students in the communities we serve. That’s our Promise to Michigan.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
As spring weather returns to Michigan, so does the risk of severe weather.
To help protect people and property, April 7-13 has been declared Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week. Tips and resources to prepare for thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes that can accompany rising temperatures include the following:
Before a storm strikes:
-Plan ahead. Know where to go and what to do in a weather emergency.
-Have a portable radio, flashlights and fresh batteries handy.
-Know the location of the circuit box for your home’s electricity and how to turn the power on and off.
During a thunderstorm:
-Don’t use the phone unless it’s an emergency.
-Unplug or turn off power to all unnecessary appliances, such your coffeemaker, toaster, TV, DVD player, microwave and computer.
-Stay away from open windows, doors, patio or open porch.
-Don’t shower or bathe. Lightning can travel through plumbing pipes and water.
-Have alternate routes planned in case of flooding.
During a tornado:
-In homes and small buildings, go to the basement and get under something sturdy, like a workbench or stairwell. If a basement is not available, go to an interior (windowless) room, closet or bathroom on the lowest level. In public places, move to the designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best.
-Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
-If you are caught outdoors, seek a sturdy shelter.
If your home loses power:
-If possible, check to see if the problem is a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
-Report an outage and get predicted restoration times using your smartphone at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap or by calling (800) 477-5050.
-Watch for fallen wires, broken utility poles or tree limbs on a power line. Stay clear of power lines and anything a power line is touching, including puddles of water, and call us at right away at (800) 477-5050.
After a flood:
-After a flood or other disaster, check for the odor of natural gas (rotten eggs) before entering any area. If gas is detected, leave the area immediately and call (800) 477-5050. Replace any appliance submerged in water
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