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Energy utilities working to restore power following winter storm

Karel Vega
Close to a half-inch of ice accumulated across the mid-Michigan area Wednesday night as strong winds of up to 40 miles per hour continued into Thursday. The severe weather disrupted power lines across the state.

Updated on February 24 at 5:26 p.m. ET

As of Friday afternoon, Consumers Energy says it's restored power to about 90,000 customers in southern Michigan.

More than 250,000 homes and businesses in the region were left without power after this week's ice storm.

Consumers says a majority of outages will be fixed by Sunday.

The utility said more than 500 crews, or more than 1,500 members, have been working around the clock to restore power this week. This includes crews from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia.

Consumers Energy spokesperson Brian Wheeler said the storm downed more than 8,000 wires in the region making the restoration challenging.

"Because we have so many individual outages, each outage as we make that repair, we don't bring back as many customers at once," Wheeler said, "We can fix one span of wire and that might bring back a dozen or a few dozen customers as opposed to hundreds in other cases."

In response to outages in areas hit hardest by outages, Consumers Energy is hosting a free community breakfast in the city of Jackson on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Food will be served at the Gene Davis and Sons Banquet Center from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

A similar event will be held in Manchester this Saturday, Feb.25 at the Grand River Brewery at Manchester Market in Manchester from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Customers without power are encouraged to call 2-1-1 if they need assistance with finding a warming center.

Original Post: Utilities are working to restore power to thousands across Michigan followinga winter storm with heavy icing and wind gusts.

Close to a half-inch of ice accumulated across the mid-Michigan area Wednesday night as strong winds of up to 40 miles per hour continued into Thursday. The severe weather disrupted power lines across the state.

Consumers Energy says more than 200,000 customers have experienced power outages, with many residing in the southern part of the state. Over 4,000 customers have been affected in Ingham County.

The utility expects a majority of customers to regain power by Sunday and most maintenance to be completed by the end of Monday.

Consumers Energy spokesperson Brian Wheeler said the company prioritizes restoring power to public service units, including hospitals and public safety buildings. As maintenance workers continue to perform repairs, he urged drivers to exercise caution in the harsh weather conditions.

“It is very icy, it is very slippery," Wheeler said. "If you see crews working by the side of the road, please slow down and just take your time as you're going around them.”

Wheeler said drivers should call 911 and the utility if they see downed power lines on the road.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light is also working to restore power to customers experiencing outages.

BWL General Manager Dick Peffley says close to 90 customers lost power during the weather event. Maintenance crews have been addressing outages Thursday, a process that includes removing vegetation and tree limbs that have fallen on power lines.

Peffley said the BWL saw many outages occur for customers in South Lansing.

“Our system did see heavy icing, especially on the South side of our service territory, but we weathered it well,” Peffley said.

Peffley says he expects power to be restored for all customers by the end of Thursday. He says further outages are unlikely into the weekend, but the BWL is keeping an eye on a potential storm next week that could cause additional power disruptions.

More information about which customers have lost power is available on the Consumers Energy and BWL online outage maps.

Editor's Note: Consumers Energy is a financial supporter of WKAR.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
Melorie Begay is the local producer and host of Morning Edition.
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