Sharon Stone mug

I’m jumping on the bandwagon to thank and praise the work of Consumers Energy, DTE and contractors from the seven states that worked around the clock to restore power to much of Mid-Michigan following the storms that began last Wednesday, Aug. 11. Huge kudos also to all the fire and police departments that dealt with their own challenges from the storm.

 Five days after the first of three storm waves statewide, Consumers Energy announced Sunday night, Aug. 15, that more than 98% of all electric customers had power, with most expected to be restored overnight.

 “We are very pleased with the progress made given the extent of the damage,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations. “With much of the state wrapped up, we’re consolidating crews in the southernmost counties in our final push for this storm.”

 It was a crazy storm. When I ran about 40 feet to my car Wednesday afternoon for a scheduled dentist appointment, I don’t think I could have been more drenched from the rain. No umbrellas were in sight. The sky was so dark it felt like nighttime. Not realizing the full extent of the storm, I found myself navigating around big tree branches on Torrey and Linden roads.

 When I got home, it hit me just how bad the storm had been. Power was out. My husband was dragging tree branches off to the side of our yard. We felt very fortunate that we had no damage other than that. Then the sound of generators started filling the air.

 We have a very small generator that kept our refrigerator and a fan going. I think I found a couple batteries that I had stashed from the Y2K debacle.

 When darkness came, we went to bed. I was relieved to realize that the Times office did not lose power. From there, we monitored the weather and the progress that utility workers were making. They knew a storm was coming and had out-of-state workers ready to help.

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 I’m sure many of those workers from Michigan were without power at their own home, yet they worked around the clock clearing paths to install new power lines, all while more storms were threatening just over their shoulders. Power outages were sporadic near our home. I’m sure my co-workers were glad that I was able to shower at my brother-in-law’s home Friday morning before heading into work.

 I monitor fire department alerts and heard numerous calls regarding trees in the road, power lines down, arcing wires, sparking wires, transformers on fire and carbon monoxide alarms. Our fire departments sure had their hands full too. The majority of our local firefighters are paid on-call firefighters, meaning they only get paid when they respond to a call. They typically live close by with other full-time jobs. Like the utility crews working around the close, so were our firefighters.

 Our power came back on Friday afternoon. I cannot tell you how relieved we were.

 I know utility crews are still working and finishing reconnections and there are still reports of weakened tree branches pulling down power lines, but life for the most part is back to normal.

 To all those who worked tirelessly to restore our power and to keep us safe, thank you. It’s an awesome feeling to flip a light switch and have a light come on.

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