38,000 Consumer’s Energy customer in southern Michigan are without power today after yesterday’s round of storms. The system had a one-two punch with one storm in the morning followed by another around noon. Approximately 6,300 Midwest Energy Cooperative customers are also without power. The storm created electric problems for about 132,000 people statewide yesterday.
Consumer’s Energy issued a news release showing known power outage in these counties: Allegan (2,780); Barry (930); Branch (2,960); Calhoun (1,540); Hillsdale (840); Jackson (40); Kalamazoo (18,210); Kent (1,430); Lenawee (100); Muskegon (6,860); Newaygo (190); Ottawa (430); St. Joseph (670); and Van Buren (2,430).
Consumer’s Energy promises that the electricity to their customers should be back on by Wednesday, but in the mean time, here are some safety and survival tips.
* If your power goes out, more than 15 minutes, call your energy provider. Chances are, phone lines will be busy, if it is a major power outage. Typically, there is a recording message alerting you if the power outage is widespread. The message usually lists contact information and provide updates.
* Customers should be aware that utility workers can reconnect lines to the home, but only and electrical contractor can repair equipment.
* Never touch a downed power cable, or step into a puddle where a cable is downed. Water conducts electricity and you will get electrocuted. Don’t attempt to move it or replace it. Keep children and pets away from downed power lines. If you see a downed cable contact the power company, public safety or 911.
* Here is the toll-free number for Consumer’s Energy: 800-477-5050. This number is a good resource for update information and to report problems. Here is the hotline for Midwest Energy Cooperative: 800.492.5989. Midwest Energy also provides an Outage Central link with interactive map and ZIP code search function to track known power problems. This company services residents in Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Marcellus, Decatur, Lawton, and Mattawan.
* If you use a generator, read all safety materials before installing. Make sure that it is in good working order before running it. Be sure to fuel it when it is turned off. Here are some considerations before buying a generator.
* Keep an emergency supply kit readily available in a waterproof container. Emergency kit should include candles, matches or lighter, flashlights, batteries, transitor or battery-operated radio, non-perishable energy snacks, blanket and water.
* If you lose power to refrigerator or freezer, remove frozen and perishable refrigerated foods when unit is no longer cold. Place in sealed thermal containers. You can also leave food in freezer and refrigerator, but add bags of ice. Replace as ice melts.
Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes from 25 years teaching science and six years writing about weather issues.