Temporary Outages Happen to Everyone: Be Prepared this Winter

The Alliance for Michigan Power believes there is much our state’s energy providers can do to ensure reliable service for all Michiganders. Unfortunately, there are times when nature intervenes, especially during Michigan’s long winters. We encourage all Michiganders to be prepared to weather the storms.

Winter Weather Can Disrupt Service

Anyone who has experienced Michigan’s winters knows how harsh they can be. Power is sometimes knocked out by high winds, ice and heavy snow. To compound the problem, harsh winter conditions make restoring power more difficult for electric crews, and plummeting temperatures can be uncomfortable or even dangerous for residents while they wait for the power to be restored.

Be Prepared

While Michigan utilities are working hard to minimize weather-related outages, service interruptions do occur. The most important thing you can do is prepare your household ahead of time. Create a kit of the things you may need: candles, matches, flashlights, batteries, extra blankets, sweaters, mittens, water, a first-aid kit, and non-perishable food items (along with a manual can opener). Store it in an area of your residence that would be easy to get to if a storm hit in the middle of the night. You may also want to include a portable radio that will allow you to monitor news and emergency system notifications, as well as an old-fashioned analog phone that doesn’t require power to operate.

When an outage occurs, be aware of low-hanging wires and power lines that have been knocked down by a storm. Steer clear of flooded or damp basements, as water could be in contact with electrical outlets. Unplug as many electronics and lights as possible to prevent damage or fire due to a surge when the power is restored.

Help is on the Way

If you do experience an outage, call to report it—don’t assume that your utility knows about it. Then, have faith that your local power restoration crew is doing the best they can to get your power back on. Many members of these crews are working long hours at times they had planned to be home.

Use candles, matches, and generators carefully to prevent accidents and fires. Once you have secured your own household, if you can do so safely, you may want to check on neighbors who are likely to be vulnerable, such as elderly residents or families with small children.

Most utility companies have a phone number to call, an online form, or both you can use when outages occur. If you have Internet access during the outage, some even have real-time maps so you can understand how big the outage is—whether it’s just you or your entire neighborhood is affected.

Both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy offer tips and resources to help you deal with temporary outages any time of year. Stay safe this winter!