UPDATE: Consumers Energy crews making significant progress in restoring power

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JACKSON, MI (WILX) -- Consumers Energy said they have restored power to over 47,000 customers after powerful storms knocked out power to more than 54,000 residents and businesses.

“Favorable weather today aided our efforts to restore a large portion of customers impacted by Wednesday’s damaging weather and we’re going to work through the night to continue reducing the number of customers without electric service,” said Consumers Energy Vice President Greg Salisbury. “We can’t thank our customers enough for their patience as we push to restore power to the remaining 7,000 customers.”

The company said over 54,000 customers were affected by the severe weather, which packed winds more than 50 miles per hour. A majority of customers were expected to have power restored by the end of the day Thursday.

The company said those in the hardest hit areas are expected to be restored by late Friday.

Consumers Energy said more than 280 downed wires were attributed to the weather and from customer service representatives to damage assessors and lineworkers, more than 750 Consumers Energy employees and contract personnel are engaged in the restoration effort.

Salisbury urged customers and the public to stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, keep children or pets away and report the issue by calling 911 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.

Consumers Energy said to also keep these safety tips in mind:
• Call 2-1-1 if you are looking for help connecting to temporary shelter or other resources that offer assistance in your community. 2-1-1 is a free statewide service.
• Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement, enclosed patio or near any air intakes. Doing so could cause a generator to produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas.
• Be alert to crews working along roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.
• Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.
• In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customer’s home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.

Customers can report an outage, check the status of an outage and get tips on what to do after a storm by clicking here.

No injuries were reported in the storms Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says a possible tornado was reported in the western Michigan city of Grand Rapids and emergency management officials in surrounding Kent County say several possible brief tornadoes were spotted on radar.

Firefighters evacuated a Grand Rapids apartment building after winds tore off the roof and damaged other nearby buildings.

Damage was reported in Lowell and Ada.

DTE Energy says about 74,000 of its customers were affected, with about 33,000 without power around midday Thursday.

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