Consumers Energy is advising the public to practice “safety first” when visiting areas near its 13 hydroelectric generating plants located on the Manistee, Muskegon, Au Sable, Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers. In particular the utility is warning people about the potential for thin ice up and downstream of the dams.
“Ice conditions on the reservoirs next to these hydro plants can change rapidly due to unpredictable weather. In particular we want the public to be aware of the possibility of thin ice and dangers associated with the ice immediately upstream of the dam itself,” said Jim Bernier, senior resource manager for Consumers Energy.
Water currents at a hydro plant can be hazardous in winter, when a reservoir may or may not be covered with ice. Ice on a reservoir near a hydroelectric facility is not reliable and should be avoided by snowmobilers, anglers and others enjoying recreation.
“The relatively mild winter this year heightens safety concerns and people should practice extra caution,” said Bernier. Ice-covered water down river from a hydroelectric facility can also be very dangerous and should never be considered a safe place to walk.