Noon UPDATE, Dec. 22: Approximately 25,000 Consumers Energy electric customers are without service after a powerful winter storm brought heavy rain, snow and high winds across Michigan Thursday and Friday. Since 4 a.m. Thursday, more than 160,000 customers have been affected by weather related outages. For a list of shelters, please see near the bottom.
“We appreciate the patience of our customers as we get the upper hand on damage to our system now that this long-lasting storm has passed,” said Garrick Rochow, the utility’s vice president for energy delivery. “With the arrival of colder temperatures, in areas where power outages remain, we encourage residents to help neighbors who may need special assistance, including infants, the elderly or people with disabilities.”
More than 1,800 Consumers Energy and contract employees are working on storm restoration efforts, including outstate crews. Utility workers already in Michigan from Ohio and Indiana are being joined today by crews from Illinois.
For most customers, power will be restored by midnight Saturday. However, other customers in more hard-hit areas may not have their power restored until late Sunday or into Monday. Estimates will be updated as assessment and repairs continue.
As of 11 a.m., the approximate numbers of Consumers Energy electric customers remaining without service in the following counties were: Allegan (3,147); Antrim (504); Benzie (3,408); Charlevoix (946); Cheboygan (250); Clare (957); Crawford (789); Emmet (430); Grand Traverse (857); Leelanau (4,888); Manistee (3,629); Mason (120); Missaukee (317); Oceana (151); Otsego (888); Ottawa (1,259); Roscommon (173); Van Buren (131); and Wexford (1,288). Updated outage and power restoration information is available on line at http://www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap. The outage map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices and can also be used to report an outage.
With colder temperatures, residents without power who have municipal-provided water are encouraged to open their faucets for a constant drip to help keep pipes from freezing. 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 or to request assistance. 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 12 noon Saturday, the following shelters and warming centers (without overnight accommodation) were open in Michigan.
- Benzie Bus Station, 14150 US 31, Beulah, MI, 231-325-3000
- Fresh Winds Church, 9780 Honor Hwy, Honor, MI, 231-325-0344
- The Maples Medical Care Facility, 210 Maple St., Frankfort, MI, 231-352-9674
- Cheboygan Armory, 610 Cuyler, Cheboygan, MI 49721 (24 hours)
- Oscoda Area High School, 3550 E. River Road (County Road F-41), Oscoda, MI
Grand Traverse County
- The Salvation Army Community Center, 1239 Barlow St., Traverse City, MI, 231-946-4644
- The Rock of Kingsley Youth Center, 115 E. Blair, Kingsley, MI, 231-263-7000
- Green Lake Township Fire Hall, 9426 10th St., Interlochen, MI, 231-276-6297
- E- Free Church, 1649 E. State Road (M-32), Gaylord, MI, 989-619-0072
- Little River Casino Resort – 2700 Orchard Hwy (M-22), Manistee, MI
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.
If using a generator, contact a licensed electrician to ensure that it is properly connected and, for the safety of our line workers, make certain it is isolated from the utility’s electric distribution system. Never use a generator in an enclosed area and never fuel a generator when it is running.
In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to your home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to your home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.
Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.
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 http://www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap.