A week later, some in SW MI still don’t have power

Calhoun County

TEKONSHA, Mich. (WOOD) — A week after a couple of rounds of nasty storms blew through Michigan, many along the Indiana border still don’t have power.

Hundreds, and in some cases more than 1,000, of Consumers Energy customers in Branch, Calhoun, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties were still without service late Tuesday afternoon.

Consumers says the outage event that started with storms on the night of Aug. 10 and continued with another round the next day is one of its 10 most significant ever. In all, 370,000 customers lost power.

Wind gusts were clocked at up to 70 mph in Kalamazoo County’s Alamo Township on Aug. 10, and The National Weather Service says some Aug. 11 wind speeds in eastern St. Joseph County reached between 85 mph and 90 mph — or ever higher. The Wednesday storms also spawned a weak EF-0 tornado in the Dorr area. The strong winds ripped down some 7,000 wires and damaged about 200 utility poles statewide.

The Jackson-based utility set about 2,000 lineworkers, including some from several other states, to work on 16-hour shifts to restore service. Still, with the number of outages so large, it was a herculean task.

Never expecting the outage to last so long, one couple sprung for a generator to power their medical equipment.

“Because I use a CPAP and oxygen at night to sleep, my husband bought a generator,” Amy Patrick explained.  

A week later, she is still waiting for the power to be restored.

“It’s just been so uncomfortable,” she said. “My husband is a man’s man, he can do it. But I’m not like that. I have to be able to have running water — I like to do my dishes and bathe and all that, so that’s been the toughest part.”

A spokesperson for Consumers told News 8 the repairs in some of the southern parts of the state are taking longer than expected due to the extent of the damage.  

Customers who do not have power for more than 120 hours, or five days, can apply for credit on Consumers Energy’s website, the company said. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has called on Consumers and DTE Energy on the southeast side of the state to offer those credits voluntarily rather than making customers apply, and also to provide larger amounts to those who lost money in spoiled food or on other housing options.

“The utility workers for Consumers Energy and DTE Energy are working hard to restore power, and I appreciate those who have worked tirelessly the last several days on behalf of the communities they serve, but these companies also need to work hard to restore trust with their customers,” Nessel said Monday.

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