WEST MICHIGAN – Electric companies are working to restore power in Michigan and Consumers Energy says that its crews are nearly halfway done but they still have a long ways to go.
Since the beginning of last weekend’s ice storm, nearly 320,000 Consumer Energy customers lost power to their homes or businesses. On Tuesday, the number of people who are still in the dark has dropped to about 152,000 according to Brian Wheeler, a Consumers Energy spokesperson.
Mary Palkovich, the vice president of energy delivery for Consumers Energy called this storm “catastrophic,” and said that this is the worst storm that it has seen during Christmas week in the company’s 126-year history.
Jim Anderson, the executive director of electric assets at Consumers Energy, said that not only do we have workers from all over the state working to put light back in homes and businesses, crews from all over the country have been recruited to help as well.
He said that there are nearly 450 electric line crews working across Michigan – over 260 of those crews are from out of state.
Palkovich wants to remind people to look for downed wires and said that there are still over 5,000 wires that are not secured.
“All hands are on deck,” she said. “We’re trying to restore as quickly and as safely as we possibly can.”
Palkovich also said that safety is most important from a public and worker standpoint and with more lake effect snow and high winds on the way Consumers Energy said safety is at risk.
“There are a number of trees that have a significant amount of ice on them out there,” said Anderson, the executive of electric assets. “Those that haven’t been broken have been weakened significantly. Ice storms are very challenging. It takes a lot more time and a lot of hazards come along with it.”
He also said that with another batch of wintry weather headed our way, some progress might be lost because of those damaged tree limbs coming down.
“We will get to the end of this…it’s so important that we get there safely together,” said Palkovich, the vice president of energy delivery.
Power restoration for the majority of Consumers Energy customers is estimated for either Thursday or Friday.