April showers bring May flowers, as the saying goes. What it doesn’t include is “they can bring thunder and lightning, which can be quite frightening – especially when it takes your power out.” While we’re working to strengthen our grid through our Reliability Roadmap, we’ll never be able to avoid outages completely. So, when the severe weather rolls in, we have some tips to make sure you’re prepared and safe before, during and after the storm.

Before the storm

Some preparation needs to take place when you know a storm is coming, but there are other things you can do to get prepared now. Check out our storm prep suggestions below.

Depend on Life-Support Equipment?  If someone in your home relies on life-support equipment, be prepared. Install a generator to provide emergency power, and enroll in the American Red Cross Identification Program.

Outage alerts – Sign up for outage alerts to keep you informed of what’s going on. Alerts can be sent through email, text and a phone call.

Download our app – Using your cell phone, visit the app store, type in Consumers Energy and download the app. You can also use these direct links:

Stock your emergency kit – Make sure you’re ready for the unexpected with an emergency kit stocked with the following:

  • Flashlight
  • Cell Phone Charger and an extra charge bank
  • Radio
  • Batteries
  • Water (one gallon per person, per day)
  • First-Aid kit
  • Daily medications
  • Non-perishable food (that doesn’t require electricity to prepare)
  • Manual can opener
  • Cash
  • Gasoline for your vehicle and generator

Batten Down the Hatches – If it’s safe to do so, bring in outdoor furniture and secure grills, trampolines and other large items. They can blow away and cause damage during high winds.

Fill ‘Er Up – Fill your bathtub to have water for flushing toilets (yes, this works!)

When the Storm Hits

The storm rolls in and power goes out. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe when the storm hits.

Downed Wires – Stay at least 25 feet away from a downed wire and anything it is touching. Call 9-1-1 first, and then us at 800-477-5050 to report a downed wire.

Generator Safety – Have your generator properly installed by a licensed electrician and located in a well-ventilated area. Never operate a generator in your home, basement, garage or other enclosed area.

Protect Your Equipment from Power Surges – Unplug electronics like TVs and computers. Make sure to turn power strips off.

Stay Connected – Use a portable charger, vehicle charger or power bank to charge your devices during a storm. If you charge a phone in your vehicle, don’t run your vehicle in your garage. Conserve phone batteries by reducing screen brightness and using airplane mode.

Buddy Up – Make sure to check on your neighbors – especially the elderly or those with special medical needs.

Blow Out the Candles – Candles can be a major fire hazard. Use flashlights instead.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – In addition to placing your generator outdoors and away from your home doors and intakes, don’t run your vehicles in a garage.

Cooling Centers – You can find your nearest cooling center by calling 2-1-1.

After the Storm Passes

Now that the storm has rolled through, it’s time to survey damage, clean up debris and wait for power restoration. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Leave the Light on for Us – No we’re not Motel 6 (iykyk) but it is helpful for crews to see when power is restored.

Check the outage map – Stay up-to-date on restoration efforts progress and check your outage on our Outage Center.

Food Safety – Not sure what to keep or toss after your power is restored? Check out this blog for guidance.

Trees – Crews will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of property owners.

Damage – Sometimes, the mast which holds the electric service wires to your home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable. Get more info about who owns what.

Downed Wires – While you’re out surveying for damage and cleaning up debris, be careful. Remember that downed wires can be hidden by shifted items, tree limbs or leaves. If you see a downed wire stay at least 25 feet away from it and anything it is touching. Call 9-1-1 first, and then us at 800-477-5050 to report a downed wire.

Estimated Time of Restoration (ETR): We aim to be as accurate as possible with restoration time targets, but large storms often create a lot of factors that are hard to estimate – especially before we can survey the damage and find the specific cause of each outage. We appreciate your patience and understanding if your ETR changes.

Learn why your ETR might change:

Hey, Consumers Energy! What’s up with the changing ETRs?

Learn how we restore power:

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

Questions?

Due to the number of questions we receive during storm, we are unable to respond to customers via our social channels. Visit our outage center for the most up-to-date information. You can also call us at 800-477-5050.