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Power restored to Montcalm County barns after help from FOX 17

Posted at 11:17 PM, Jan 24, 2023

FENWICK, Mich. — A Montcalm County couple’s power was restored after they contacted the Problem Solvers at FOX 17.

Valerye and Chuck Goslin reached out after Consumers Energy reportedly told them it would take at least four weeks to restore power to two barns on their property, which house chickens and goats.

“We don't quite understand,” said Valerye. “All we want is our power turned on so we can get heat to the animals. We've been busting ice to get water to the animals, he's been packing water from the neighbors. It just makes life incredibly difficult and I don't think it's necessary.”

The barns lost power on December 28 after the couple’s house caught fire.

They escaped unharmed but lost everything besides the barns. Some of the items destroyed include antique furniture and Valerye’s parents’ ashes.

It’s considered a total loss.

“We’re okay and, you know, the Lord provides,” said Valerye.

Investigators believe a defect with a cordless drill’s battery pack caused it to leak hydrogen gas, heat up then explode.

“I’d been in the garage a minute before the fire started and didn't smell anything, didn't see anything,” said Chuck. “I was two feet from that drill taking my boots off.”

The couple thought power to their barns would be restored shortly after an electrician installed a new electrical box and the county inspector approved it, but when they called Consumers Energy and requested a crew turn it on, representatives from the company told them it would be a while.

“I’m up at five in the morning… [to] start the generator, get the lights going everywhere,” said Chuck. “I go through about 25 gallons of gas every three days and at least 20 to 25 gallons of propane, so it's $100 and some dollars every three days.”

He added, “They just kept telling me that we have a process, you don't understand we have a process.”

As they tried to make the most of their situation, the Goslins became increasingly worried about the health of their animals without a consistent power source, especially if the temperatures dipped below freezing.

They emailed FOX17, who reached out to Consumers Energy on their behalf.

The company declined to speak specifically about Goslin’s case, but electricity was returned to their property on Tuesday.

“Consumers Energy is prevented from discussing publicly details about customer’s accounts,” said Josh Paciorek, a Consumers Energy spokesperson. “We are committed to delivering energy to our customers safely and reliably 24/7… We work with them to resolve the situation as quickly as possible so that we can deliver the energy they need. Because each situation is unique, we help them to understand the steps in their process and keep them updated on timelines.”

With the energy they need now back, the couple hopes it helps push them through the rebuild of their house.

“It [turning the power on] would change our life completely right now,” said Chuck. “We could get our fifth wheel moved up, get moved in with it and not have to live with the neighbors. Our animals would be secure.”

Consumers Energy customers with an emergency request can call 1-800-477-5050. For non-emergency requests, Consumers Energy tries to schedule work as soon as possible.

Customers can learn more about new service installations here.

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