Consumers Energy officials today thanked the communities hardest hit for their continued patience and support in the aftermath of the devastating weather last week, including seven confirmed tornadoes.

A record number of Consumers Energy crews and contract crews from six states worked through this weekend to bring power back to homes and businesses. Now, we enter the home stretch of restoration efforts. At the storm’s peak there were nearly 200,000 customers without power.

A top priority was placed on restoring power to schools, and as of the time this story is posted, fewer than 24,000 customers in total remain without power.

“Right now, there are over 3,000 co-workers and contractors engaged in restoring this storm safely and effectively,” said Greg Salisbury, Vice President of Electric Distribution Engineering, before speaking to media in Dimondale. Driving into Dimondale – one of the hardest hit areas in the state – crews could be seen replacing poles and power lines.

“Our team has responded so well, like they always do. I couldn’t be prouder. We have been safe and effective. We brought in this huge contingent of contractors from all over the country,” said Salisbury.

A powerful storm with winds that reached 90 miles per hour hammered the state at the end of last week from Grand Rapids to Southeast Michigan. As the restoration work continued, we held customer appreciation events over the weekend in communities with extensive storm damage, including Grand Rapids, Comstock Park, Manchester, Grand Ledge and Grass Lake.

Chris Laird, Vice President of Electric Operations, said the storm damage has been extensive.

“We have seen mature trees down and buildings and businesses destroyed, and homes and vehicles destroyed,” he said.

About 800 crews and 300 forestry crews are working around the clock to ensure everyone’s power is restored safely, he said.

“I really appreciate the patience customers have shown us and a lot of appreciation to the emergency responders and to the local DPW (Department of Public Works) for clearing trees and roads for us. We will continue to work safe and get everyone back on as soon as we can.”

As our crews wrap up restoration, we caution people to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, keep children and pets away, and report the issue by calling 9-1-1 and us at 800-477-5050. We also ask the public to keep a safe distance from crews as they perform this important work.