Utilities Prep For Power Outages

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It takes a lot of supplies to keep electricity flowing. That's in addition to the trucks and crews--who were stocking their vehicles so if power is knocked out-- they're ready to go.

Thursday Consumers Energy showed WILX how it prepares for severe weather. We went inside the company's largest material distribution center in the state--a gigantic warehouse filled with gas and electric line replacement parts.

It's one of 30 in Michigan.

"From a storm sense we have enough material here to supply our crews and crews throughout the state with the material to restore those customers back on," said Chip Johnstone, the Consumers Warehouse Supervisor.

Thursday workers stocked what's called the "Mobile Storm Unit." It's a semi that can travel to the hardest hit areas, so crews can restock their own trucks without leaving--making restoration faster.

It holds all kind of supplies.

"We actually have all the material here including the transformers and the cross arms to restore customers," said Johnstone.

Consumers said it has repair crews are on call, not to mention all the support staff--planners, schedulers, dispatchers and engineers.

"Forecasts do change so we want to be overly prepared, so we are getting crews in place, we're informing customers, we're putting out press releases," said Mary Palkovich, the Vice President of Energy Delivery at Consumers.

On Thursday there were no major power outages.

"With the high winds tomorrow, there's the potential that the big outages could be seen [Friday]. Right now we're seeing our system hold up to the precipitation that we're experiencing," said Terry DeDoes, a Consumers spokesperson. "On days like this when we're having the kind of weather that we're having, we keep crews inside, we suspend scheduled work so that they are ready to respond to outages."

Better safe than sorry.

We tried to incorporate the Lansing Board of Water and Light in this story but its spokesman wasn't available until it was too late.

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