Hey, Consumers Energy! During the last storm I started with a restoration time of later that night and then it changed to two days later. What’s up with the changing ETRs?

The storm moves in, your power goes out, you report your outage.

You check the outage map and see an estimated time of restoration (ETR), but when you check it again a few hours later, the time has changed. So, what’s the deal?

While we try to give an accurate estimate in any outage, it’s important to remember that estimated time of restorations are just that, estimated. Normally your first ETR is generated automatically, within minutes of the outage by our system. These initial ETRs are based on average repair times, without any knowledge of the specific situation of your outage. And those ETRs would probably be accurate, for an average outage. But we know storms are not your average outage. There are a lot more factors that play into why your power went out and what it might take to fix the issue.

Here are a few reasons why your ETR might change:

Extensive damage: If our crews arrive on the scene to assess the damage and find several downed wires or poles, they may need to extend the ETR based on the actual time it will take the problem or a need for a certain tool or item to make the repair.

Called away: Crews may be on their way to a location and get called to a more urgent situation such as a downed wire or utility pole blocking traffic. We know when your power is out – you feel like your outage is the priority. And we agree! It doesn’t mean your situation is less important, but safety always comes first, and our crews may need to leave to make another situation safe.

More bad weather: Our crews can only start making repairs and restoring power once it’s safe. That means the storms have left the area, the winds are less than 30 mph and there isn’t a threat of additional weather. If the severe weather lasts for longer than predicted, or more storms move into the area, our crews will need to stop making repairs until it’s safe to do so, which may mean a longer than expected restoration time.

Here is more information about how we restore power:

 

Every power outage is unique, and some present unexpected challenges which make it necessary to change your ETR multiple times. We know this isn’t ideal and can be frustrating for our customers, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t working or don’t care. We are continually working to improve the accuracy of our ETRs.

 

Check out your current ETR and other outage tips and information at our Outage Center.

Check out this related blog:

Hey, Consumers Energy! Why is my power always restored last?