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Consumers Energy crews stage across state to prepare for power outages

Meijer Storms Credit Erika Mitchell
Posted at 7:43 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 19:48:25-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Consumers Energy says they are ready to quickly restore power, situating crews throughout the state ahead of storms expected Tuesday evening.

The National Weather Service has extended a severe thunderstorm warning until 6 p.m. Tuesday for Battle Creek, Charlotte and Albion.

Josh Paciorek, media relations specialist for Consumers Energy, tells FOX 17 that they have been preparing since Saturday for the potential for destructive weather. The company has been relying on an internal weather team to determine the best locations they can stage crews ahead of the storm, to be in place to quickly bring power back up.

"We look at the weather forecast and see where the storm might hit the hardest," Paciorek said.

"This storm that's coming through, we expect at the very front end of the storm, that's going to be where the wind gusts are the highest, and again, the wind gusts are really what's going to end up causing problems if there are any."

Paciorek says once winds reach speeds of 60–70 miles per hour, trees will start coming down.

FOX 17 heard from a handful of viewers, after the three days of storms in mid-August, upset at how long they went without power in their homes. Some lived in the dark anywhere from several days to a week.

Attorney General Dana Nessel also heard from a lot of folks on the same issue, opening up an online feedback portal where people could share their experience losing power, and how it affected them financially.

Nessel's office says they received over 2,900 responses in the first few days of the portal being active.

On Aug. 25, a case was opened by Michigan’s Public Service Commission (MPSC) in an effort to expand the data and info that power companies are required to supply them, ultimately with the goal of being better prepared in the face of future extreme weather.

MPSC has also announced that they will be holding a conference "focused on storm response, preparedness and reliability" on Oct. 22.

Luckily for those of us desperate to keep the lights at home on, Paciorek says Consumers doesn't expect those who lose power to be left in the dark for long.

“The storm system that we see coming through today, we hope that once it comes through, we'll have clear weather... and our crews, they'll be working around the clock to get power restored to each and every last customer,” Paciorek told FOX 17 Tuesday afternoon.

“Temperatures are a little bit cooler, which is good news, and tomorrow's forecast looks clear as well.”

As you might imagine, these are ideal conditions for crews to be outside working to restore power.

You can always check the status of power outages throughout West Michigan via the Consumers Energy Outage Map.

If you do lose power, and are still able to access the outage map on your cell phone, you can click on the area where you live to see an estimated time of when power will be restored.