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'We're planning for the worst': Consumers Energy's teams ready for outages

Consumers says it's been preparing for the storm all week with hundreds of team members on standby to help with restoration efforts.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Consumers Energy says it has hundreds of crews ready to respond to potential power outages as a result of the winter storm.

"We're planning for the worst case scenario and that includes some widespread damage across the entire Lower Peninsula," said Consumers Energy spokesperson Joshua Paciorek.

Consumers says it's bracing for the worst of the conditions expected Friday, where we would see 40-50 mph winds. Peak wind gusts could get up to 60 mph in some parts of the state.

"That can really cause damage, widespread damage, uprooting trees, knocking trees over onto powerlines and causing outages," Paciorek said.

Consumers says it's been preparing for the storm all week with hundreds of team members on standby to help with restoration efforts.

This week, the company spent time getting the trucks ready and making sure materials are stocked and ready to go, Paciorek said.

"We'll be ready to work through the nights and through the upcoming Christmas holiday to get the power back on as quickly as possible for any customers that are impacted by this winter storm," he said.

As of right now, there are no major outages in West Michigan. 

Customers should call 211 if they are looking for help connecting to resources that offer assistance in your community, including warming centers. 211 is a free statewide service.

►FULL LIST: Warming shelters in Kent County

Consumers Energy has some preparation tips for potential severe weather including:

  • Charge all electronic devices. It’s advised to have an emergency battery or charging station available for use during an outage.
  • Have an emergency kit that includes flashlights and extra batteries, water, canned food and blankets. Be prepared with enough medication, baby supplies and pet food if applicable. A battery-operated radio is also a good idea.
  • Unplug sensitive electronics like TVs, computers and printers. Turn power strips off.

Consumers Energy also urges the public to keep these important storm safety tips in mind:

  • Stay at least 25 feet away from downed wires and anything they are touching, keep children or pets away, and report the issue by calling 911 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.
  • A portable generator should be placed at least 25 feet away from any doors, windows or fresh air intakes. Never operate a generator inside your home, garage, basement or enclosed area. Proper ventilation is critical.
  • Be alert to crews working along slick roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.

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