9:30 p.m., Dec. 21, UPDATE: Approximately 50,000 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service because of a powerful winter storm which is only now beginning to subside after bringing heavy rain, snow and high winds across Michigan. Since 4 a.m. Thursday, more than 150,000 customers have been affected by weather related outages. For a list of warming shelters, see bottom of this post.
“This evening, for the first time all day, our number of power interruptions is moving lower as the weather improves and our crews continue on the job,” said Garrick Rochow, the utility’s vice president of energy delivery. “Worker and public safety is Consumers Energy’s No. 1 priority and we thank our customers for their patience as we safely go about our work to get power restored.”
More than 1,700 Consumers Energy and contract employees are working on storm restoration efforts, including crews from Ohio and Indiana.
Restoration work is continuing through the night Friday, but for some customers, it will be midnight Saturday before power is restored. However, other customers in more hard-hit areas may not have their power restored until late Monday. Estimates will be updated as assessment and repairs continue. Additional storm activity may prolong restoration times.
As of 8:45 p.m., the approximate numbers of Consumers Energy electric customers remaining without service in the following counties were: Alcona (5,096); Allegan (2,922); Antrim (535); Benzie (8,515); Charlevoix (1,020); Cheboygan (1,459); Clare (2,241); Crawford (1,408); Emmet (433); Grand Traverse (1,180); Iosco (2,781); Kalamazoo (562); Lake (78); Leelanau (4,836); Manistee (5,384); Mason (498); Missaukee (372); Oceana (631); Osceola (231); Oscoda (332); Otsego (1,629); Ottawa (3,008); Roscommon (1,579); Van Buren (1,422); and Wexford (354). Updated outage information is available on line at www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap. The outage map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices.
Customers who lose heat during an extended power outage may want to visit a designated public shelter. In most counties, residents can dial 2-1-1 to receive shelter information. In addition, using a mobile phone, residents can text “SHELTER” then their ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). Maps and addresses of shelters can be found using the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or American Red Cross websites, http://www.fema.gov or http://www.redcross.org. Before going to a shelter, residents are asked to contact their state or local emergency management office to confirm the availability of services.
As of 9 p.m., the following shelters and warming centers (without overnight accommodation) were open in Michigan.
- Benzie Bus Station, 14150 US 31, Beulah 231-325-3000
- Fresh Winds Church, 9780 Honor Hwy, Honor 231-325-0344
- The Maples Medical Care Facility, 210 Maple St., Frankfort 231-352-9674
- Cheboygan Armory, 610 Cuyler, Cheboygan 49721 (24 hours)
- Forest Township Hall, 9511 M-68/M-33, Onaway
- Petoskey United Methodist Church 1804 E. Mitchell St, Petoskey. (This shelter will close at 10 p.m. Friday unless it is clear it is needed for the evening).
Grand Traverse County
- The Salvation Army Community Center, 1239 Barlow St., Traverse City 231-946-4644
- The Rock of Kingsley Youth Center, 115 E. Blair, Kingsley 231-263-7000
- Green Lake Township Fire Hall, 9426 10th St., Interlochen 231-276-6297
- Oscoda High School, F-41 county road, Oscoda (opens 10:30 p.m., Dec. 21)
- E- Free Church, 1649 E. State Road (M-32), Gaylord 989-619-0072
- Central Wesleyan Church, 466 W 40th St. Holland
Consumers Energy cautions residents to stay far away from downed wires and avoid anything they may be touching, then report it immediately by calling 1-800-477-5050, or their local law enforcement agency. The utility also reminds customers to be alert to utility crews working along roads and urges drivers to take extra precautions in those situations. 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 call Consumers Energy to report a power outage are encouraged to use the utility’s automated reporting option, available at 1-800-477-5050. The service provides restoration information for each substation and circuit, and can be used to report an outage. Outages can also be reported and restoration information obtained via Consumers Energy’s online outage map, at www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap.