It costs about 8 cents to keep 300 icicle lights on for four hours and about 5 cents to light a Christmas tree with 200 miniature lights for four hours. At 13 cents per night, a month of holiday cheer with these indoor and outdoor decorations costs about $3.90.
You can find additional savings with LED lights, which use more than 80 percent less electricity than standard light strings. Consumers Energy’s energy efficiency program offers special pricing for LED holiday lights during December at participating Home Depot stores. Find a retailer.
About 6 percent of our electrical use in December for both homes and businesses can be attributed to the holiday season. Demand for energy increases from businesses and shopping malls, which install special lighting displays and extend shopping hours, as well as for residential holiday lights.
6 Tips to Stay Safe During the Holidays from the Michigan Fire Marshal
- Choose a fresh Christmas tree and water it frequently. Place the tree in a stand that will not tip over and keep the tree away from heat sources and exits.
- Keep burning candles away from decorations and other materials that can catch fire. Do not leave children unattended in a room with lighted candles.
- Never leave the stove unattended while cooking, and turn pot handles inward on the stove and out of children’s reach.
- Make sure the fireplace flue is open before starting a fire, and never burn wrappings or a Christmas tree in the fireplace.
- Have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Since noon Sunday, more than 334,000 homes and businesses, or more than 18 percent of Consumers Energy’s customers, have been affected. As of 4:30 a.m. Thursday, 14,400 customers remain without power.
Most customers should have their power restored by late tonight. Harder hit areas, including portions of Genesee, Allegan, Barry and Kalamazoo counties, should have power restored by late Friday.
The 1,800 field workers from Consumers Energy and eight other states, as far away as Oklahoma, are part of more than 2,600 office and field personnel dedicated to the storm restoration effort. In terms of customer outages, this is Consumers Energy’s largest storm in more than five years. In June 2008, storms interrupted power to nearly 380,000 customers.
For Your Safety
- Stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and report them immediately by calling 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency.
- Watch for crews working along roads. Slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so you safely can go past workers and equipment on roadsides.
- Hunters are encouraged to use extreme caution while in wooded areas, to be aware of any possible downed wires.
- Never heat homes by unsafe methods such as gas ovens and outdoor grills.
- If using a generator, contact a licensed electrician to ensure that it is properly connected and make certain it is isolated from the utility’s electric distribution system.
- Never use a generator in an enclosed area or near any air intakes, and never fuel a generator when it is running. An improperly vented generator can create deadly carbon monoxide, an odorless colorless gas, within a dwelling.
More than 100 contractors from as far away as Kentucky are arriving in Michigan today to assist Consumers Energy with restoring power after a catastrophic storm knocked out electrical service to more than 270,000 of the utility’s customers.
Not only was this severe storm long lasting, but it also covered the entire Lower Peninsula, creating logistical challenges. We are working night and day to get power restored through challenging field conditions, and we appreciate our customers’ patience. Storm photos on Facebook.
Please stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and report them immediately by calling 1-800-477-5050 or your local law enforcement agency.
Statewide, more than 230,500 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service as of 10:45 a.m. Monday from Sunday and Monday’s storms which included winds topping 60 mph. Since noon Sunday, nearly 27-0,000 customers have been impacted by the storm.
As of 11 a.m., counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Allegan (8,907), Barry (9,955), Calhoun (10,041), Clare (10,455), Genesee (17,637), Ingham (8,882), Jackson (12,913), Kalamazoo (15,931), Kent (30,268), Midland (11,360) and Shiawassee (9,269).
Report outages and get restoration updates by calling (800) 477-5050 or using a computer or mobile device to visit http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. If looking for a shelter, call 2-1-1.
- With many schools canceled today, parents are reminded that they should be aware of possible downed power lines in the area before allowing children to play outdoors.
- With the Michigan firearm deer season underway, hunters are encouraged to use extreme caution while in wooded areas, to be aware of any possible downed wires.
- If using a generator, contact a licensed electrician to ensure that it is properly connected and, for the safety of our lineworkers, make certain it is isolated from the utility’s electric distribution system. Never use a generator in an enclosed area or near any air intakes to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and never fuel a generator when it is running.
Get more storm and power outage information at our newly updated online outage center.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy crews continue efforts to restore electric service across Michigan after winds exceeding 60 mph and severe thunderstorms resulted in widespread power outages. Statewide, more than 213,900 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service as of 3:45 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18.
Crews have been working throughout the night to assess the damage from Sunday’s severe weather and make situations safe for the public. As of 3:45 a.m., counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Kent (30,882), Kalamazoo (16,342), Genesee (13,449), Jackson (13,011), Clare (11,272) and Midland (11,121).
Customers can report outages and get service restoration updates by calling (800) 477-5050 or visiting our outage map via a computer or mobile device at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. Additional storm and power outage information is available at the newly updated online outage center, www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outage. Updates also are available via Twitter at #CEoutage.
A majority of customers who have been without electric service since Sunday afternoon should have their power restored by late Wednesday. Harder hit areas may not have their electric service restored until Thursday. Estimates will be updated as assessment and repairs continue. Additional storm activity may prolong restoration times.
From line workers to customer call center representatives and on-site damage assessors, more than 1,300 Consumers Energy and contract employees are working on storm restoration efforts across the state. Additional contract utility crews from outside Michigan, some from as far away as Kentucky, are expected to be in the state later Monday.
Please stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately by calling 1-800-477-5050 or their local law enforcement agency. Also, be alert to utility crews working along roads. In particular, drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past utility workers and equipment on roadsides.
Customers who lose electricity for an extended period of time may want to investigate if public shelters are available. In most counties, residents can dial 2-1-1 to receive shelter information or to request assistance.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
As opening day nears for Michigan’s popular firearm deer season, we’re reminding everyone that hunting is not allowed on Consumers Energy property.
The ban protects the safety of neighbors, utility workers and others. It also addresses the concerns of neighboring landowners that irresponsible hunters will use Consumers Energy property to trespass.
We are asking everyone to help keep this a safe hunting season and asking sportsmen and sportswomen to remember that Consumers Energy property is private land, not public property.
AUDIO: Mike Williams, Consumers Energy’s director of corporate security, talks about the hunting ban. BROCHURE: “A Guide to Consumers Energy Land: To Our Michigan Neighbors,” provides information for landowners, developers and others on use of Consumers Energy property.
If you observe anyone hunting on utility land, or damage or vandalism, please contact local law enforcement or Consumers Energy’s corporate security office at 1-800-760-3295.
Consumers Energy offers cash rewards of varying amounts for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who damage company equipment or property.
Special hunting provisions apply to Consumers Energy-owned lands bordering its Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon river hydroelectric plant reservoirs, where hunting is permitted.
Constructing blinds, target shooting, baiting, burning and fire pits are strictly prohibited on all company lands. The cost of removing blinds from utility property is charged to the blinds’ owners.
In addition, the use of dirt bikes, ATVs and other off-road vehicles is not allowed on utility property due to the risk of resource damage, danger to drivers and passengers and damage to utility equipment.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Whether it’s a zombie apocalypse or Mother Nature’s fury, Consumers Energy is on the watch and preparing for possible power outages. Here are some tips to help make your Halloween safe this year.
With thunderstorms, high winds and heavy rain forecast across Lower Michigan, Consumers Energy is reminding parents and others accompanying the costumed youngsters to exercise caution on slippery surfaces created by wet leaves covering yards, sidewalks and driveways as well as possible downed wires and tree limbs resulting from the forecasted rough weather. Children should avoid neighborhoods which appear to be without electricity as downed wires also may be in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, Consumers Energy is closely monitoring the weather and has crews ready to quickly respond to any power outages caused by the storms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips to Prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse.
Some important tips to help you prepare for a storm include:
- Charge electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops, and have fresh batteries flashlights and weather radios.
- Have a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, and don’t forget a first aid kit or any prescription medication.
- Stay at least 25 feet from any downed lines and assume every line is “live” and dangerous. Do 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 “rotten egg” odor of natural gas. If you think you smell odor, leave the area right away and call 1-800-477-5050. Remember to replace any appliance submerged in water.
Additional storm and power outage information is available at Consumers Energy’s newly updated online outage center at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outage. If you do lose power, call us at 1-800-477-5050 or report the outage via at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap. The map is accessible via both desktop computer and mobile devices.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy Offers Life-saving Tips During Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week Oct. 20-26
As leaves fall and colder weather signals the start-up of furnaces across Michigan, Consumers Energy urges residents to protect themselves against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Often called “the silent killer,” the toxic gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and can be produced when home appliances aren’t operating or venting properly.
Gov. Rick Snyder has declared Oct. 20 through Oct. 26 “Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week” in Michigan. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. The Michigan Department of Community Health reported that in 2011 (latest available data) there were 934 unintentional CO poisonings in Michigan, 22 of which resulted in death.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by the incomplete combustion of fuels including oil, propane, natural gas, coal, wood, kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel and charcoal. Deadly amounts of carbon monoxide can be produced by defective or poorly vented appliances that use these fuels such as furnaces, fireplaces and wood stoves, as well as water heaters, generators and vehicles. Facts about carbon monoxide.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic the flu, and include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and stinging or burning of the eyes. Prolonged exposure can cause disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness and ultimately death.
The best defense against carbon monoxide problems is to install an audible carbon monoxide detector that will sound if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present in a home or building. Tips to prevent carbon monoxide in your home/apartment.
Another way to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning is to make sure all fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and maintained. Furnaces should be cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
If you suspect there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home, you should evacuate all people and pets, move to fresh air, and call 911.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
With sugar beet and other harvest season activities underway throughout Michigan, Consumers Energy is reminding farmers and agricultural workers to look up when using equipment near overhead electric lines.
Oftentimes power lines can often be out-of-sight and out-of-mind, but it is important to identify them as hazards with workers or contractors and make a plan to always stop, look up and look around.
Also consider the following when working around power lines:
- Safety standards require that anyone working near them stay at least 10 feet away, including 10 feet from any tools or equipment you are using.
- Metal ladders, cranes and some other specialized equipment require a clearance of 20 feet. Higher voltages also may require greater distances.
- If you are planning to do work near power lines and are unsure if you’re able to maintain the proper distance or who the line belongs to, call 811 any time, day or night.
- 811 will make a site visit, discuss voltage information and other safety options, which could include de-energizing the line or relocating it.
For more information on safety rules and safe distances for working near power lines, visit www.Michigan.gov/miosha or call (800) 866-4674. Additional safety resources for Ag workers and contractors can be found at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/worksafe.
Did you know? Electricity and Michigan farms have long been connected. In fact, in 1949 we brought electricity to our 100,000th Michigan farm, making MI the first state in the nation to reach that milestone.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Squirrels, raccoons and other curious animals will have a tougher time getting into Consumers Energy substations and disrupting power thanks to enhanced control measures across the state. The new barriers promote animal safety and customer reliability and help the company deliver on its Promise to provide the energy customers need whenever they need it.
Consumers Energy owns and operates more than 1,200 substations, which help serve 1.8 million customers by decreasing electric voltage for distribution to homes and businesses across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The electrical wires leading to and from a substation, along with the warmth and vibration given off by the substation’s equipment are often attractive to wildlife, especially squirrels and raccoons.
Substations are knocked out of service when an animal enters the substation and contacts energized equipment while also touching the ground or grounded electrical equipment. The animal is electrocuted and a resulting electrical “fault” disrupts power either momentarily or for longer periods, depending on the situation.
From January 2011 through Sept. 30 of this year, more than 30 percent of all substation outages were caused by wildlife, one of the largest known causes of substation outages. When partial or complete substation outages occur, hundreds or thousands of customers can lose power. A typical substation outage caused by an animal can last from two to three hours.
The new standard addresses two main areas: Improving barriers around the substation and reducing the opportunity for animals to contact energized equipment in the substations.
Ten to 15 new substations are built each year, with another 10 to 20 upgraded or modified. The new animal control standards have been applied to several existing substations during 2013.
Consumers Energy spends about $150 million a year to upgrade its electric distribution system, including substation work. These investments and others over the last five years have resulted in a 20 percent improvement in electric reliability.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
In honor of “Talk Like a Pirate Day” Sept. 19, we encourage you to watch the Call 811 Pirate Video. Join Jenny and Michael as they use a special spy glass and pirate guide to learn how to spot underground utilities and dig safely.
Perhaps folks are not looking for buried treasure, but homeowners and others may be digging to plant trees or install a mailbox, fence or deck.
Viewers learn how flags and paint help mark underground lines for water, electricity, natural gas, cable TV and more. Red identifies electricity, and yellow marks natural gas. WATCH VIDEO
“Talk Like a Pirate Day” is officially celebrated in Michigan. State legislators approved a resolution earlier this year from Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Twp.
Whether you are in the city ARRR the country, some things need to stay buried. Always Call 811 before you dig and know what’s underground.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
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