The Mercury News
Michigan residents endure another day without power
When Anna Capling, a labor and delivery nurse in Livonia, Michigan, heard from family members Wednesday that their lights were flickering amid an impending ice storm, she stood up to charge her phone just in case the power went out.
Then she heard a loud boom, and everything went dark. Days later, she still has no power.
“It's just frustrating,” Capling said. “It almost feels a little depressing because you just have no idea when it's coming back on.”
Capling was one of hundreds of thousands of customers in southern Michigan still scrambling to stay warm Saturday as power failures plagued the region, days after a winter storm that led to at least one death.
Snow, freezing rain and wind gusts of 30-40 mph hammered the Upper Midwest overnight Wednesday, creating mayhem and coating trees and power lines in ice.
The resulting outages sent people to warming centers opened by local governments and the American Red Cross. Nearly 400,000 customers in Michigan remained without power as of Saturday evening, according to PowerOutage.us.
It's a familiar circumstance, many residents said in interviews. According to the Citizens Utility Board, a nonprofit based in Illinois that assesses utilities across the country, Michigan is one of the worst states for power reliability.
A 2021 report from the organization ranked the state fifth worst, with the average customer experiencing more than nine hours of outages each year during a major event. Michigan is also among the worst for recovery after an outage, usually taking about six hours on average, the report said.
DTE Energy, one of the major power companies in Michigan, said that 75% of its customers would have power restored by Saturday and most of thew remaining outages would be fixed by the end of Sunday. The company said more than 4,000 workers were on the ground to help restore power to over 235,000 customers throughout Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Another utility in the state, Consumers Energy, estimated that power would be restored in most areas by Sunday, but possibly as late as Monday for some locations. Nearly 115,000 of the company's customers are without power throughout southern Michigan, including in Kalamazoo.
For some riding out the winter storm, this is the second power outage in six months. Severe thunderstorms in August led to blackouts across the state. Capling said she was without power for three days last summer. Both times, she lost all of her food.