GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 37,800 Consumers Energy electric customers remain without service due to the thunderstorms that swept across the state Thursday. Since early Thursday, more than 111,000 customers have been affected by weather-related outages.
More than 50 additional men and women from utility companies outside Michigan arrived this afternoon to assist in restoration efforts. Additional mutual assistance crews are expected Saturday. These crews are in addition to the more than 450 Consumers Energy electric line workers and contractors working in several parts of central and eastern Michigan affected by Thursday's storms to restore power as safely and quickly as possible.
"We are making good progress on customer power restoration and I appreciate the hard work being performed in hot, difficult conditions by our company and contractor crews," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president of energy delivery. "The safety of our employees, contractors and customers is our first priority and we're restoring power as quickly and safely as possible."
As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, the approximate numbers of Consumers Energy electric customers remaining without service in the following counties were: Clinton (2,559); Eaton (1,652); Genesee (16,733); Gratiot (1,518); Hillsdale (1,089); Ingham (523); Jackson (399); Livingston (1,323); Montcalm (3,552); Oakland (553); Saginaw (1,277); and Shiawassee (4,650).
In addition to the line worker crews, Rochow estimated more than 1,000 Consumers Energy employees are dedicated full-time to the power restoration activity, including those assessing system damage, guarding downed wires and customer call center representatives.
This afternoon Rochow was at a Burton public cooling center in Genesee County to personally thank customers for their patience. The county was one of the hardest hit areas from this storm. Rochow was joined by local emergency management officials to encourage citizens to check on the well-being of the elderly and those living alone during the extremely hot weather, which is not expected to subside until late Saturday. They also encouraged the public to use several cooling centers set up in Genesee County to help citizens escape the heat. Cooling centers also are set up across the state. Many of the center locations are listed at www.consumersenergy.com or by calling 2-1-1 locally.
A majority of customers without electric service since early Thursday, are expected to be restored by late today. Customers in the hardest hit counties, including Genesee, Ingham and Clinton, as well as areas south and east of Jackson affected by storms Thursday afternoon may not receive electric service until Saturday or Sunday. Estimates will be updated as assessment and repairs continue. Estimates may also be affected by additional thunderstorm activity.
Consumers Energy cautions area residents to avoid touching any downed wires and to report them immediately by calling 1-800-477-5050, or your local law enforcement agency.
Customers who call Consumers Energy to report no power 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.
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.
Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE :CMS ), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of the state's nearly 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information regarding Consumers Energy, access our website at: www.consumersenergy.com
The next storm update will be at approximately 9:00 P.M.
SOURCE Consumers Energy