The March 7-8 wind storm cut power to more than 1.1 million Michigan residents – an all-time combined record – and was one of Consumers Energy’s most devastating storms in its 130-year history. Consumers Energy employees worked around the clock to turn power back on to over 360,000 homes affected by the historic wind event. It was the largest weather related power problem in Michigan’s history.
Wednesday’s outage affected more people than all major 2016 outages combined. A total of 662,881 customers lost power in all of 2016, compared to 1,190,000 (combined Consumers Energy and DTE Energy) in last week’s storm alone.
While Consumers Energy has completed restoration efforts, DTE Energy still has several thousand customers without power. At a morning press conference, DTE Energy reported 7,000 customers remain without service. DTE Energy had hoped to have all restoration completed by Monday night, but extensive damage to equipment and lines has presented a greater challenge.
“From the wire guard, to the line clearing crew, to the call center representative, to the line worker laboring high off the ground, many employees involved in this restoration have positive stories to tell about interactions with many kind residents affected by the storm,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “These stories help explain why it is so rewarding to serve and fulfill our promises to our customers and we thank them for their patience.”
More than 12 hours of fierce winds, some in excess of 60 mph, impacted much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The historic storm:
- Broke more than 1,300 Consumers Energy utility poles;
- Brought down more than 9,000 electric lines; and
- Knocked out electric service to over 360,000 customers – about 20 percent of its 1.8 million customers.
Power was restored completely on Monday as more than 3,400 people were engaged in electric restoration activities across Consumers Energy’s service territory; including crews from utilities in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana.
Last week’s storm ranks in the top 15 worst in terms of customer outages for Consumers Energy. The largest outage in Consumers Energy’s history occurred during a lightning and wind storm when 641,000 customers lost power in late May and early June of 1998. Rounding out the energy provider’s top three biggest outage events are a June 1992 lightning and high wind storm that affected 611,000 customers, and a July 1991 wind storm that affected 504,000 customers.
Consumers Energy customers who went without electric service for more than 120 hours during this storm may qualify for a credit. To learn more, customers can visit: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagecenter