GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Consumers Energy says there weren’t many power outages as expected Saturday, but there are plenty of workers ready to roll if ice causes widespread problems overnight.
As of Sunday afternoon, power has been restored for most impacted by outages.
Roger Morgenstern, a spokesman for the Jackson-based utility, said there weren’t many power outages in the early part of the day. However, he said there could be more storms late Saturday night and Sunday.
“We are feeling pretty good that it’s not as bad as we thought it was going to be,” he said.
Officials in Kent and Kalamazoo counties say there were no major issues in the early part of Saturday. However, officials say crews are prepared to respond to the changing weather conditions.
Roads became more icy and slippery late Saturday night.
>>Inside woodtv.com: Interactive power outage map
The biggest threat for power outages is ice, and because just a few degrees can have a big effect on how much ice forms, it’s a wait-and-see game.
Consumers, however, says it has prepared for the worst.
“If we do have outages overnight, we have men and women here in Grand Rapids to make sure power is restored,” he said.
If ice and wind starts to bring down power lines, remember you should always stay at least 25 feet away. Even if the line isn’t sparking, it could still be energized. Call 911 and Consumers right away.
“When we get at least a quarter of an inch of ice on the lines, we start to see outages. So that will be our first indication, frankly, is when we start seeing the ice accumulate,” Morgenstern said. “One of the challenges with ice storms … you may not lose your power in the initial ice storm, but when that ice falls off the line and (the line) springs back up, it may cause an outage, so we have different waves of outages.”
Morgenstern pointed back to the deep freeze in January and February 2019 when people lost power, got it back and then lost it again. He acknowledged that can be frustrating for customers but promised, “we are on it. We are ready to respond.”
He also noted that if the roads were too bad for repair crews to safely get around, restoration could be delayed.
The threat of ice and snow caused several schools, churches and businesses to cancel weekend events. See the updating list of closings here on woodtv.com.
With demand high for backup generators, the Family Farm & Home store on Plainfield Avenue north of Grand Rapids received new shipments Saturday. Within four hours of opening, the store had sold more than 100 units.
“I think everybody just suffered through it last time and wants to be prepared for this time,” customer Joe Durfee said as he picked up his.
If you’re looking to buy a generator, it’s a good idea to call ahead to your preferred store to make sure they have one in stock.