Crews work to restore power in Michigan after damaging winds


More than 1 million MI electric customers, including homes, schools and hospitals, were without power on Thursday after a windstorm caused the biggest outage in state history, utility companies said. As of five this morning, there are still 515-thousand without electricity.

Restoration estimates reach into Sunday in some areas.

"Please do not go near a downed power line and be aware of the potential for fallen trees, branches, and blowing debris that may cause a potentially unsafe situation", Bouchard said in a release. "Our most recent update now shows only eight customers without power (in that region)".

The storm, which DTE Energy said was the largest in its history, caused more than 800,000 outages for DTE customers. The utility described it as a "once in a century weather event".

According to Lauer, 90% of DTE Energy customers will be restored to service by end of the day on Sunday, March 12. DTE recognizes this event is hard for customers and asks for your ongoing patience.

That number is down from 95,000 outages reported Monday night and Tuesday in Xcel's service area, which includes much of Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin. The high winds caused damage and power outages around Saginaw County.

Hundreds of line workers and tree trimmers from out of state have joined the restoration effort. About 1,000 tree trimmers are at work, 250 of whom are from out of state.

DTE said people should consider all downed power lines as being live and should stay at least 20 feet away from all downed power lines and anything the power lines might touch. They are extremely risky. Outages were also affecting customers in Sparta and Mindoro. "It is DTE's responsibility to ensure our investment decisions meet our customers' energy needs - with affordability and reliability among our top priorities".

About 800,000 DTE customers in MI lost power, which is approximately one-third of the company's 2.2 million customers.

"All of our focus right now is securing downed power lines and keeping the public safe". If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until help arrives.

· Turn off or unplug all appliances to prevent an electrical overload when power is restored. Leave one light switch on to indicate when power is restored.

Many homeowners are now deciding whether to stay home and battle the cold or head for warmer shelter.