Utility crews work long hours to restore power in Mid-Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Utility crews work long hours to restore power in Mid-Michigan

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) -

(12/26/13) - We've been receiving many calls and Facebook messages over the last few days from people thanking utility crews for putting in long hours to help restore power to people in Mid-Michigan.

"The crews we spoke with left their families prior to Christmas, and haven't been home yet, but have been here working hard to restore power back to Mid-Michigan," said Dan Malone, Senior VP, Consumers Energy.

Nearly 1,000 workers from 12 different states are working long hours after what Consumers representatives call the worst Christmas week ice storm in the company's 126 year history.

"We're working 16-17 hours days, then we get 8 hours off, and then come back at it the next day," said independent contractor Gene Barbour.

Crews have been out 24 hours a day, including on Christmas, connecting with families whenever and however they can.

"You know, it's a little hard. I FaceTime with my wife and my kids and grandkids. But they understand. They know what we're doing. So we're here doing what we do," Barbour said.

Across Michigan, originally about 350,000 customers were without power. Around 4:30 p.m.  Thursday, that number was down to 73,500. Consumers hopes to return nearly all customers to power by the end of the day on Saturday.

"You know, everyone we've run into so far, they want to know when. But they've been patient. Nobody's been ugly and occasionally that happens in these scenarios and the longer it goes, the tougher it gets for these people. They're the ones struggling. We have a warm hotel and hot food to go back to, and they've got a cold house still. But yeah, we missed Christmas. But we're doing fine," Barbour said.

One potential set back for the power restoration crews - they worry as the weather warms back up Friday and Saturday, ice will melt off a trees and the trees could readjust, snap back into place and potentially knock down a few more power lines.

If that happens, they say they'll come back out and re-restore power.

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