JACKSON, Mich. (WOOD) - Consumers Energy has sent dozens of crews to New Jersey to help get the lights back on in the blizzard-battered state.
The freak snow storm that happened on Saturday clobbered the east coast. It dumped more than two feet of snow in some areas.
The snow totals are similar to those experienced in West Michigan in February 2011.
"Our crews have had good experience with the snow," said Consumers spokesperson Tim Pietryga. "Obviously, this is a very early winter snow storm and obviously, [it's] affecting millions across the east coast."
Pietryga said utility companies like Consumers have mutual assistance programs. That means when a power issue arises here in West Michigan, other companies come to help out.
First Energy, the New Jersey company Consumer's is going to help during this storm, was just in Michigan earlier this month helping to restore power.
Consumers crews expect to be stationed in Summit, NJ. They expect to help restore power to about 250,000 people.
Pietryga explained what the crews will be doing.
"They'll be restoring service to electric customers, to broken poles, down wires -- very similar storm situations as we have here in Michigan," said Pietryga. "Obviously, when our folks are in the dark here, we welcome the assistance from other utility crews, and the more they can send, the quicker those customers will get their power restored."
The crews that left on Sunday are drawn from all over Michigan, so one area won't be adversely affected if there is an energy problem in the state.
The east coast crews could be gone for more than two weeks.
"Our employees are very giving of their time," said Pietryga. "Obviously, tomorrow is Halloween. Some of them may have children. They won't be able to see their kids trick-or-treating, or won't be able to go trick-or-treating with them, but we do these things in these times of need. When other companies need our assistance, we're certainly glad to help out."
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