With high winds expected across Michigan as Hurricane Sandy moves west, Consumer Energy is reminding its customers of what to do before, during and after a storm.
The utility is making preparations and staffing additional personnel to respond to any electric service interruptions that may result from the strong winds associated with Hurricane Sandy. While the hurricane’s center is expected to make landfall on the East Coast late Monday, winds from the extremely large storm were beginning to reach Michigan midday Monday.
The utility is keeping most of its service centers open throughout the night Monday to rapidly respond to customer outages caused by the expected high winds. In addition to available company crews, contract and forestry crews have been placed on stand-by status to assist with restoration activities.
“While this is an early start to our winter storm season, it’s important that our customers take time to plan for severe weather activity,” said Garrick Rochow, vice president of energy delivery for the utility. “Being prepared can minimize the impact of a storm and help you and your family to stay safe.”
Consumers Energy offers the following tips to help its customers weather storm-related outages:
- Keep flashlights and a portable radio handy. Make sure you have fresh batteries. Lanterns and battery-operated lights are a safe alternative to candles.
- Keep a list of emergency numbers near your phone. Most hard-wired and cell phones should still work.
- Some cordless phones operate only with electricity. Keep a cell phone or other phone that works without electricity.
- Become familiar with where your electric circuit box is located and know how to turn your power on and off.
- If you have electrically powered life-support equipment, before a power outage occurs, ask your physician, nurse or equipment supplier about emergency backup.
- If you have a generator, you must have a transfer switch installed in your fuse box by a licensed electrician, for the safety and protection of our line workers.
- Keep a supply of canned food and, if you have an infant, baby formula. Make sure you have a manual can opener.
- Keep a complete first-aid kit and a sufficient supply of prescription medications on hand at all times.
During A Storm
- Stay clear of downed and sagging wires. Treat all downed wires as if they are energized and keep a safe distance. Also make sure children and pets maintain a safe distance. Immediately report downed wires to Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or the local law enforcement agency.
- Don’t attempt to repair or remove limbs from lines.
- Please don’t interfere with utility crews while they are working.
- Keep one light “on” so you’ll know when your electricity has been restored.
- If you are leaving the house, turn the main breaker off. This will reduce the chance of appliance damage and safety problems if power is restored while you’re away.
- Before removing damaged trees or branches, check closely to make sure no lines are touching them.
- Draw blinds and shades over your windows. That will prevent glass from shattering into your home if the window should break due to blown objects or large hail.
After The Storm Passes
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations or monitoring the local newspaper for updated information and instructions.
- Avoid traveling to or through storm-damaged areas if possible. You may be putting yourself at risk or hampering restoration efforts.
- Stay away from fallen power lines and anything a line may be touching. Report downed power lines immediately to 1-800-477-5050 or the local law enforcement agency.
- Be cautious around storm-damaged brush, branches and trees where wires may be entangled.
- Survey your property for any visible damage and possible lingering effects of the storm, such as hanging branches or sagging lines. Report potential hazards and keep others – especially children – away from fallen trees and power lines.
- Offer to help neighbors who may need special assistance: infants, the elderly or people with disabilities.
- Arrange for clean up on your property of any debris. Consumers Energy will take care of pole or wire replacement and clean up, but tree and other debris can pose a hazard and should be removed promptly by the homeowner.
Restoration information can be obtained by calling 1-800-477-5050. For more information on storm safety, visit the Consumers Energy website at: www.consumersenergy.com/outagecenter.