Jessica Mathews /

Area utility companies are working around the clock to get power restored to the hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses left in the dark.

One big challenge for both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy has been high winds and icing on poles inhibiting restoration.

DTE issued an update stating that crews are in the field working 16-hour shifts and have restored power to more than 100,000 customers since the start of the storm. As temperatures dropped overnight and into the morning; the utility cautioned that more icing, falling trees, and additional power outages are possible.

More than 518,000 DTE customers were without power as of late yesterday evening – with more than 19,000 reported in Livingston County.

Consumers Energy issued an update stating that crews have been making progress to restore power to the over 237,000 homes and businesses affected. Over 450 crews are involved in around-the-clock work, including lineworkers from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia.

Consumers Energy Media Relations Manager Brian Wheeler told WHMI this week’s ice storm was definitely unusual when looking back over the past decade – referencing a Christmas week storm in 2013 that affected a big part of the state as well as another ice storm in 2019. He said typically there are a few times during the year where major winds will cause damage and create outages but this level of ice has really been unusual.

Wheeler said the weight of the ice from the storm caused a lot of impact and really bad damage. He said ice causes unique problems in that it weighs down tree limbs and power lines – noting a half-inch of ice is equivalent to the weight of a baby grand piano on a power line.

Wheeler said they’re grateful for everyone’s patience and they recognize the hardship and inconvenience from outages but stressed crews are working to get power back on as quickly as they can.

Both utilities urge safety during outages and estimate power will be restored to most customers by Sunday and Monday.

Photo: Consumers Energy