I&M reports 34,000 customers without power after ice storm

Published 11:05 am Saturday, January 2, 2021

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN – Electric outages are impacting many Michiganders across the southwest region of the state after freezing rain impacted the area on Friday.

Areas including those surrounding Buchanan and Three Rivers are experiencing outages for around 3,200 customers.

“Indiana Michigan Power will continue restoration efforts today after a winter ice storm caused damage to equipment and disrupted service to more than 34,000 customers,” according to an I&M statement released Saturday morning. “More than 90 percent of affected customers are in the South Bend/Elkhart area as snow fell overnight, causing additional outages.”

I&M has crews and contractors assessing and responding to more than 900 separate outage cases as safely and efficiently as possible to repair or replace damaged equipment caused by ice and snow, officials said. The company is bringing in additional crews from Fort Wayne and Muncie in Indiana, and from Ohio to assist in the restoration efforts.

I&M recommended the following safety precautions for customers and the public:

  • Stay away from any downed wires and report them to I&M. Customers can report downed wires at 800-311-4634, on the company’s app or website, or by calling 911.
  • Trees could fall or drop limb at any moment, please look up.
  • Many roads are icy and may be covered with debris. Please use extreme caution if you must walk outside or drive.
  • Traffic lights may not be functioning. Please use caution and be mindful of first responders and utility workers on the roadways.
  • Crews will be following all CDC guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 including physical distancing. I&M urges the general public not to approach the crews.

I&M provided official outage numbers for Michigan:

  • Michigan Total Customer Outages: 3,3000
  • Buchanan area: 1,200
  • Three Rivers area: 2,000
  • Benton Harbor: fewer than 50

Over the state line in Indiana, Indiana’s total customer outage reaches 31,329.

  • South Bend/Elkhart area: 31,300
  • Fort Wayne/Muncie and Marion area: fewer than 100.

I&M is working on establishing estimate restoration times for power.
“Icy conditions are still in the area this morning along with freezing temperatures,” according to a company spokesperson. “Firm estimate times of restoration times for all affected customers will be established once full assessment of icing related damage is complete.”

I&M encouraged customers to stay up to date on the I&M Power app, or IndianaMichiganPower.com/app as crews work in the area Saturday.