Jessica Mathews /

Consumers Energy is continuing work to strengthen Michigan’s electric grid, improve reliability, and make power outages as infrequent and as short as possible.

Last year, the utility unveiled its Reliability Roadmap – a long-term commitment to improve reliability and restore all customers in less than 24 hours, even after severe storms.

Consumers Energy put that plan into action, reducing the length of the average customer outage last year during normal weather to 176 minutes, or under three hours – a 20-minute improvement over the average for the previous five years. It recently announced that nearly 9 in 10 customers who lost power in 2023 were restored in less than 24 hours -- the result of the company’s major upgrades.

Consumers Energy Spokesman Brian Wheeler tells WHMI their commitment is to have fewer and shorter power outages for customers. He says often time severe storms come through the state and people want them to work harder to keep the power on as much as possible.

Last year, Wheeler says Consumers Energy pledged a continuing commitment to ultimately get to a point where everyone gets their power back on in 24 hours or less and now, they have a bit of a scorecard to show how they’re doing.

Last year for 2023, Wheeler says nearly 9 in 10 customers did get their power restored within 24 hours. He says that shows they are making progress and a lot of customers are getting the service they deserve – but clearly, there is still more work to do even better.

Wheeler noted that what made 2023 really challenging was a major ice storm in February, tornados in August and even snow on Halloween in the Muskegon area. He says they know how unpredictable weather can be but that really just makes their work that much more important. Wheeler said when they see severe weather coming through the state and storms that are intensifying, they need to work even harder to get power back on within 24 hours for customers.

Wheeler added that it “really is a journey” when the utility is talking about reliability and continuing to do upgrades and make investments to make the power grid stronger. He said people will continue to see crews out at work burying power lines where they can, making other upgrades with technology, and even “good old-fashioned tree-trimming” to make sure there are fewer and shorter power outages.

Consumers Energy expects to make even more investments in the electric grid this year, which is being boosted by a $100 million federal funding commitment to its Reliability Roadmap. The company says it will start spending those funds, focusing on upgrades to the grid in disadvantaged communities.

More information is available in the attached press release and provided link.