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Posted on Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

Nearly 800 remain without power in Washtenaw County

By Sven Gustafson

About 800 customers of DTE Energy in Washtenaw County remained without power Sunday after powerful windstorms Friday and Saturday knocked down tree limbs and power lines across a huge swath of the state.

Most should see service restored by Sunday, though it’s possible some may not have power until Monday, a DTE spokesman said.

High winds that gusted to more than 50 miles per hour knocked out power to as many as 20,000 customers in Washtenaw County at the peak of the outage, DTE spokesman John Austerberry said.

“We had about 120,000 lose power (statewide) and we’ve restored about 112,000, so we’ve got about 8,000 to go,” Austerberry said. “We expect to have most or all of those customers restored by the end of the day.”

Consumers Energy said it still counted about 61,000 customers who have been without electricity since the storms began Friday afternoon, down from 144,000 at the peak. About 33 customers who remained without power in Livingston County should have service restored later Sunday, while the 200 without electricity in Genesee County should see service restored by midnight, the company said.

Outage numbers for Consumers were generally highest in areas of Northern Michigan, where the winds were accompanied by heavy, wet snow that drifted as high as waist-deep in some areas, making it necessary for county road commission plow trucks to clear the way for electrical workers, spokesman Tim Pietryga said. More than 20 inches fell west of Traverse City and nearly 25 inches fell near Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula, MLive reported.

Consumers counted 10,100 customers still without power in Leelenau County, 5,150 in Antrim County and 5,200 in Grand Traverse County.

“That’s where we’re moving resources today as we’re cleaning up areas down here,” spokesman Tim Pietryga said.

The National Weather Service said winds gusted up to 61 mph Friday night and early Saturday in Holland. Gale warnings were issued on Lake Michigan, where waves of up to 12 feet were slamming Michigan’s shoreline and reaching up to 24 feet in open water.

The storm was part of the same system that brought a string of deadly tornadoes through Midwest and southern states.

About 170 DTE staff and contract crews were being helped Sunday by 45 crews from neighboring electric utilities, Austerberry said.

“We do expect to get most of not all of the customers restored by the end of the day,” he said.

DTE warned customers to stay at least 20 feet away from any downed wire and anything it’s in contact with and to keep children and pets away. Call DTE Energy at (800) 477-4747 to report any downed wired.



Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

Happy to see them working in my neighborhood. It's only 46 inside the house but I'm lucky to have family living near by to keep warm.