Consumers Energy crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to the more than 80,000 Mid-Michigan customers still without as of Thursday afternoon, including 6,054 in Eaton County. Consumers Energy spokesman, Terry DeDoes said more than 2,900 workers from Consumers Energy, contractors from Michigan and employees from other states were out in the field late this week.
“First of all, we want to extend our gratitude to those crews that came from out of state that had to leave their families during the holidays,” DeDoes said. “And, of course our own employees who took time off from family, in many cases forgoing vacations. We also want to recognize the appreciated patience from our customers, who’ve been wonderful.”
Heidi Ide was one of those patient customers in Charlotte, still waiting for power to be restored to her house on Thursday. A downed limb in her yard ripped the electrical mast from the home. She said the Charlotte Fire Department had to come cut the lines on Sunday. An electrician restored the mast, but the family is still waiting for power, though many of her neighbors’ power had been restored earlier in the week.
“We could be worse off,” Ide said. “At least we have heat. I know some people have had to go without any heat. We are fortunate to have a generator.”
Heidi’s husband Greg had to travel down to Coldwater on Sunday to buy one of the last remaining generators in stock. He said he searched online for any in the area. Other Eaton County residents traveled as far as Indiana to buy a generator.
DeDoes said crews were focused heavily on Flint as of Thursday, the hardest hit area in the state. He said work was prioritized by restoring service to facilities that impact public safety, such as hospitals police and fire departments first, then those locations that affect communications and commerce. Eaton County represented approximately 14,000 of the 330,000 customers affected by the area’s worst ice storm in 10 years
DeDoes said Consumers Energy began staging crews prior to Saturday’s ice storm, the largest Christmas-time storm in the 126-year history of the utility. Complete restoration for Eaton County was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28.