Crews Continue Winter Storm Restoration; Northern Counties Open Shelters

SlowDownApproximately 55,150 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service because of a powerful winter storm that continues to affect the state with high winds and snow. Since 4 a.m. Thursday, more than 123,000 customers have been affected by weather related outages. For a list of warming shelters, see the end of this post.

“Today’s extremely high winds have caused additional power outages across the state, especially in the northern areas,” said Garrick Rochow, the utility’s vice president of energy delivery. “We are bringing in additional crews to address these outages.”

 Because of the duration and size of this winter storm, the majority of customers who have been without electric service may not have their power restored until late Sunday, Rochow said.

As of 11:45 a.m., the approximate numbers of Consumers Energy electric customers remaining without service in the following counties were: Allegan (3,734); Bay (1,815); Benzie (8,653); Cheboygan (3,867); Clare (5,169); Crawford (1,578); Emmet (1,566); Gladwin (1,375); Grand Traverse (3,735); Isabella (269); Leelanau (5,915); Manistee (2,514); Missaukee (1,896); Osceola (428); Otsego (2,629); Ottawa (2,017); Roscommon (2,128); Van Buren (1,647);  and Wexford (1,352). Updated outage information is available on line at www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap. The outage map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices.

“We appreciate the continued patience of our customers as we work to restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” Rochow said, encouraging residents to help neighbors who may need special assistance, including infants, the elderly or people with disabilities, while power restoration work continues.

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, www.fema.gov  or 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.

Consumers Energy cautions residents to stay far away from downed wires and avoid anything they maybe 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.

Northern Michigan Shelters

Benzie Co.

Benzie Bus Station, 14150 US Highway 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

Grand Traverse Co.

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