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Michigan utilities: Power restored to more than 1M; more than 40,000 still in the dark Monday

Mar 13, 2017

Michigan’s major utilities have restored power to the vast majority of those who lost it after last Wednesday’s unprecedented windstorm.

But there are still more than 45,000 households now going on day six without power and heat, most of them in and around Detroit.

Jennifer Russell lives in Northwest Detroit with her husband and two small children. Since Friday, Russell and the kids have stayed with friends, while Russell's husband stayed home to run water and stoke their fire in order to keep the pipes from freezing. 

"The first night or two you're like, 'Well, it's kind of an adventure, we can hang out, we can make it fun,'" Russell said. "And then it quickly lost its luster."

DTE Energy says it had restored power to about 755,000 customers early Monday — more than 90% of the roughly 800,000 without it.

The utility says it expects to restore power to the remaining customers by 11:30 pm Monday.

In terms of causing power outages, DTE calls last week’s windstorm about seven times worse than a “typical catastrophic storm.” The company estimates that 11,000 power lines went down.

Ann Arbor resident Elizabeth Cheslak has also been without power since last Wednesday. In addition to an outage in her neighborhood, she says a tree on her property fell and took down the power line directly servicing her home.

Cheslak said she managed without power at home for a few days before deciding to stay with friends on Friday night. She said by Sunday her home thermostat had dipped to 38 degrees. 

"It's unpleasant and it's inconvenient," Cheslak said. "But we still have so much more than so many people in the world."

Consumers Energy had planned to restore power to more than 350,000 of its customers by Sunday. But as of mid-day Monday, it was still working to restore power to about 700 people, according to a utility spokesperson.

Consumers reports the storm took down 9,000 lines in its service area.