Crews make progress in restoring power

Utility crews repair downed power lines following last weekend's ice storm.

*** 4:30PM UPDATE ***

As of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Consumers Energy says only 8,100 customers remained without electrical service. Of those, 2,840 were in Genesee County. 1,667 homes and businesses remain without power in Shiawassee County.

*** END UPDATE ***


As of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, approximately 18,000 Consumers Energy customers remained without service. Since noon Saturday, Dec. 21, the storm has caused 409,000 outages.

As of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Barry (3,667); Clinton (1,029); Eaton (1,076); Genesee (5,522); Ingham (1,965); Ionia (468); Livingston (570); Oakland (687) and Shiawassee (3,076). The majority of customers are expected to be restored by the end of Saturday.

â??As expected, we have had scattered power outages from the ice-thawing Friday and today,â?? said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energyâ??s vice president of energy delivery in a statement sent to NBC 25 News. â??We thank our customers for their continued patience and thank all of our crews and employees for their hard work.â??

*** END UPDATE ***


Fewer than 32,000 homes and businesses remain without power a week after a massive ice storm swept across parts of Michigan.

Jackson-based Consumers Energy reported Friday night that outages were down to 25,000 from 399,000 customers who lost power beginning last Saturday. Many of those outages remain in Genesee and Shiawasee counties.

Detroit-based DTE Energy reports Saturday morning that about 4,200 customers still were out following the storm and harsh weather Christmas week. The utility says it suffered more than 200,000 total outages.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light reports on its website that 2,600 customers still have no service. The utility says about 40,000 of its customers had power knocked out.

The utilities expect power to be restored to most by this weekend, but fear melting ice on tree branches could fall on power lines as temperatures rise.

Residents still without power growing frustrated

Residents still without power from Michigan to Maine after a weekend ice storm are becoming frustrated with each passing hour that their homes remain dark and cold.

They're scrambling to buy or borrow generators to keep pipes from freezing. Some have fled their homes while others are choosing to stay or have nowhere else to go.

Michigan bore the brunt of the storm as nearly 600,000 homes and businesses lost power, and as of Friday morning, about 60,000 customers remained in the dark. Some might not get power back until next week.

The storm has been blamed for 17 deaths in the U.S. and 10 in Canada. Five people apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning tied to using generators.

5 local governments make emergency declarations

Four Michigan counties and one township have declared emergencies following an ice storm that left nearly 600,000 homes and businesses across the state without power.

The move makes them eligible for state aid, although no formal requests have been received in Lansing.

Barry, Clinton, Eaton and Shiawassee counties, along with Delta Township in Eaton County, have made local emergency declarations.

Consumers Energy is reminding the public that information is available online to check on the status of remaining outages. People can report outages and obtain restoration information through Consumers Energyâ??s online outage map, The map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices. Additional information â?? including answers to frequently asked questions -- is available at Consumers Energyâ??s online outage center,

Consumers Energy is stressing four public safety tips as power outages continue:

Reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning: Home generator safety is critical. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that is potentially fatal. Never use a generator indoors, in a garage, basement or near any air intakes and never fuel a generator when it is running. Ensure that it is properly connected by a licensed electrician and, for the safety of line workers and first responders, make certain it is isolated from the utilityâ??s electric distribution system. People should never use ovens, propane grills, etc. to heat their homes, because it could cause potentially fatal CO poisoning. Purchasing CO detectors is strongly recommended. Symptoms of CO poisoning often mimic the flu, and include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and stinging or burning of the eyes. Prolonged exposure can cause disorientation, convulsions, unconsciousness and ultimately death.

Drivers should use extreme caution in areas without power: Some road intersections have non-working traffic signals. Stop at intersections and make sure it is safe to proceed before entering the intersection or crossing a railroad line. Michigan law requires that these intersections be considered four-way stops. The public also should be alert to utility crews working along roads.

Downed wire safety: This storm has produced a record number of downed power lines. If you see a downed wire, stay 25 feet away and call 1-800-477-5050 immediately. Never touch anything a power line may be touching.

Keep pipes from freezing: With below freezing temperatures returning, residents without power who have municipal-provided water are encouraged to open their faucets for a constant drip to help keep pipes from freezing.

Customers who lose electricity for an extended period of time can dial 2-1-1 to receive emergency shelter information or to request assistance. Before going to a shelter, residents are asked to contact their local emergency management office to confirm the availability of services.

In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customerâ??s home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.

Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.

(Information from NBC 25 staff reports, Consumers Energy, and the Associated Press.)