How We Restore Power after a Storm

Spring brings an increased chance of severe weather. Thunderstorms accompanied by high winds, lightning and rain can down power lines, damage electrical equipment and result in unexpected power outages.   When the power goes out, day or night, the first and most important step you can take is to report your outage to Consumers Energy.

We understand the impact brought about by unexpected outages, and we work safely to restore power as quickly as possible. Our control centers are always monitoring national and local weather conditions, so we are prepared to deal with the potential effects of the storm when hazardous weather conditions are forecasted.

There are several ways for you to report your power outage to us. Call us toll-free at 1-800-477-5050 (option 2 then option 1) to report your power outage using our automated system or by speaking to a customer service representative. If you have access to the Internet during a power outage, you may report your outage online at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagecenter. Have a mobile device?  Report your power outage and get a service restoration estimate 24/7 using your smartphone by visiting www.consumersenergy.com from your mobile device.

After a storm passes through our service area, Consumers Energy employees from many departments jump into action to restore power and repair downed power lines. The safety of our workforce and the public is top priority. During these emergency conditions, when the exposure to hazardous situations is even greater, it is extremely important that hazards to the public are addressed as quickly as possible. Once these hazards are resolved, we then shift our focus to restoring power to customers.

To help us with the restoration process, we use a map-based Outage Management System to analyze where problems are located on the electric grid – based upon customers reporting outages online or by phone. Generally, power restoration efforts in an area are prioritized by types of customers.  Hospitals, police and fire agencies, radio and TV media facilities, telephone and communication equipment, and water and sewer facilities are restored as soon as possible.

Next, we focus our repair efforts on other high priority/major business customers and also on facilities that affect the highest number of customers. When we have a large number of electric line outages, we typically restore equipment in this order: High voltage lines, substations, distribution primary, distribution transformers and secondary lines. Wherever possible, we isolate sections of damaged power lines and restore customers, before making repairs to the damaged lines.

When the damage in a specific geographic area is severe, our additional crews from around the state will be brought in to assist with the restoration efforts. Beyond our own crews, we also may bring additional resources from contract companies. If additional crews still are needed, we will contact the Great Lakes Mutual Assistance utilities – to bring in crews from out-of-state. In the past, we have used crews from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania to help restore power. Consumers Energy is a member of Great Lakes Mutual Assistance and reciprocates our crews to other utilities as they experience storms.

We understand that being without electrical service impacts your life. We understand your need for timely and accurate restoration information. We appreciate your patience and understanding during storm restoration efforts. The safety of our customers and our employees is of utmost importance to Consumers Energy as we work hard to restore power in challenging conditions.