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TMCNet:  Consumers Energy Gets Ready for Season's First Winter Storm and Offers Storm Preparation Tips

[December 19, 2012]

Consumers Energy Gets Ready for Season's First Winter Storm and Offers Storm Preparation Tips

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Consumers Energy is reminding customers what to do before, during and after a winter storm, as the utility prepares for an expected storm late Thursday and into Friday.

Consumers Energy is making preparations respond to any electric service interruptions that may result from the winter season's first major storm to hit Michigan. High winds and heavy, wet snow may result in power outages, but the utility is prepared.


"Our customers can rest assured that they can count on us to be ready when this storm hits," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy vice president of energy delivery. "We are mobilizing company and contract personnel and equipment to be in place for rapid response to any customer power outages." At the same time, Rochow said, it's advisable for customers to be prepared for this and other winter storms to keep themselves and their family members safe.

"It's important that we take time to plan for severe weather activity," Rochow said. "Being prepared can minimize the impact of a storm and help you and your family to stay safe." Be PreparedKeep several days of food that does not need cooking or refrigeration. Remember to stock up on infant formula and baby food if you have children. If you plan on using canned goods, be sure to have a can opener that does not require electricity.

Keep several days of water on hand (about 5 gallons per person per day) in case your pipes freeze or your loose power.

Charge electronic devices and cell phones that can be used to report an emergency or check the status of a power outage or local emergency assistance. If possible, have an additional cell phone battery charged to act as a backup.

Keep flashlights, a portable radio and extra batteries handy. For safety, battery operated lights should be used instead of candles which can cause a fire.

Keep a complete first-aid kit and a sufficient supply of prescription medications on hand at all times.

Keep a written list of emergency numbers near your phone. Most hard-wired (non-cordless) phones will still work even in a power outage.

If you have electrically powered life-support equipment, before a power outage occurs, ask your physician, nurse or equipment supplier about emergency backup.

If you have a generator, you must have it connected properly by a licensed electrician, for the safety and protection of our line workers and other emergency responders that may come near power lines.

During a StormStay clear of downed and sagging wires. Treat all downed wires as if they are energized and keep a safe distance. Also make sure children and pets maintain a safe distance. Immediately report downed wires to Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or the local law enforcement agency.

-- Don't attempt to repair or remove limbs from lines.

-- Please don't interfere with utility crews while they are working.

-- Keep one light "on" so you'll know when your electricity has been restored.

If power is lost, switch electronic devices such as cell phones to a power saving mode and keep all non-essential calls to a minimum to prolong battery life.

If you are leaving the house, turn the main breaker off. This will reduce the chance of appliance damage and safety problems if power is restored while you're away.

Draw blinds and shades over your windows. That will prevent glass from shattering into your home if the window should break due to blown objects.

If you lose power, report it to Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or online at www.consumersenergy.com After a StormMonitor your local radio station or Consumers Energy's outage map (www.consumersenergy.com/outagemap) on your mobile device to get the most current information on estimated restoration times. If internet access is not available, you can call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.

If your home loses heat during periods of extreme cold, go to a designated public shelter. To find the nearest shelter in your area, you can use your mobile phone to text SHELTER then your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA).

Be very careful when attempting to clear debris or tree branches, that there are no power lines entangled. Stay far away from fallen or overhead power lines and do not touch anything they are touching, including tree branches.

Report downed power lines immediately to 1-800-477-5050 or the local law enforcement agency.

Avoid traveling through storm-damaged areas which could have downed power lines and other hazards, and could slow down the restoration efforts.

When it is safe to leave your home, offer to help neighbors who may need special assistance, including infants, the elderly or people with disabilities.

In some cases, the mast that holds the electric service wires to your home or business may have been damaged or torn away from the home. Utility crews will reconnect the wires to your home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or cable. Do not touch any of the equipment. Only visibly check for damage to your mast from a safe distance, after ensuring there are no downed wires nearby.

For more information on storm safety, visit the Consumers Energy website at: www.consumersenergy.com.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.8 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information regarding Consumers Energy, access our website at: www.consumersenergy.com or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/consumersenergymichigan SOURCE Consumers Energy

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