GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Consumers Energy reports, “significant progress” was made Friday night as more than half of affected customers have power restored Saturday morning.
With ideal conditions expected throughout the day Saturday, Consumers expects continued progress on their restoration progress.
Strong winds left thousands without power Friday after back-to-back waves of freezing rain in West Michigan.
Approximately 230,000 Consumers Energy customers were impacted at some point by the winter storm event, Consumers Energy Vice President of Operations Garrick Rochow said Friday. Most of those are in the greater Grand Rapids area.
Consumers Energy says most of the affected customers will have power restored by late Sunday, but some of the hardest-hit areas might not have services restored until the end of the day on Monday. Those estimates could change if the weather worsens.
High-priority areas, like emergency service buildings and senior living facilities, will be focused on first. Rochow explained rural areas will likely take the longest to get back online.
Consumers said its crews are working around the clock to fix downed lines and repairs transformers. Additional crews from Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Tennessee are assisting the utility company in the restoration process.
Rochow said crews should be able to push more specific restoration times on the circuit by Friday evening, helping to alleviate frustration with generic times currently on the outage map.
As of 4:30 a.m. Saturday, the Consumers Energy outage map showed a total of 77,300 customers without power statewide. The majority are in Kent County.
The following counties had at least 100 customers without power:
- Allegan County: 482 customers
- Barry County: 145 customers
- Branch County: 124 customers
- Ionia County: 12,395 customers (56.1 percent of total customers)
- Kalamazoo County: 418 customers
- Kent County: 44,787 customers (16 percent of total customers)
- Montcalm County: 9,776 customers (37.5 percent of total customers)
- Muskegon County: 5,147 customers
- Newaygo County: 136 customers
- Oceana County 126 customers
- Ottawa County: 1,589 customers
- Van Buren County: 307 customers
Late Friday morning, Rochow said 1,500 people were working for Consumers Energy to restore power and the company was continuing to increase resources to respond to downed wires and outages.
At one point, the number of downed power lines was up to 3,300, Rochow said.
Consumers Energy spokesperson Roger Morgenstern advised families who cannot stay in their home during the outage to contact 211 to find out about available shelters and warming centers. The utility company also reminded people who use generators to keep them outdoors — not in a garage, shed, basement or breezeway — because they may cause carbon monoxide poisoning in enclosed spaces.
The utility company reminded people to stay away from downed power lines. If you see one, call 911 and then Consumers at 800.477.5050. Drivers are also reminded to be alert to Consumers crews working along roads.
The city of Kentwood says residents cleaning up from the recent winter weather can drop off brush, sticks, tree limbs and logs at the Department of Public Works, located at 5068 Breton Ave. SE during daylight hours through next weekend.