LANSING — All that tens of thousands of Michigan residents want for Christmas is to be able to turn on the lights.
More than 200,000 remained without power Tuesday after a weekend ice storm blacked out close to a half-million homes and businesses across the state.
The wintry blast hit Saturday night. Three utilities said about 251,000 of their customers still were without service.
The utilities have said it would take days before most power can be restored because of the difficulty of working around ice-broken lines.
DTE Energy said that work continued to restore service to 58,000 blacked-out customers out of about 150,000 affected since the storm hit.
Consumers Energy said 303,000 of its customers were without power and that 174,000 remained offline.
About 35,000 customers of Lansing’s power company lost service, and 19,000 had no power Monday night, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Jamie Billings had a glimmer of hope that her power would be back on for Christmas, but she was no longer sure.
“We have a wood-burning stove, so I’ve been staying at home, but I’m going to have to start throwing stuff in the fridge out,” the resident of Livingston County’s Tyrone Township told The Flint Journal.
Consumers Energy called it the largest Christmas-week storm in the company’s 126-year history and its largest ice storm in more than a decade.
Utility officials said they were doing everything they could to turn on the power as soon as possible.
“We expect to see even more progress today as additional crews from 11 states and Washington, D.C., continue arriving in Michigan,” Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy delivery, said Tuesday. “We thank the men and women working safely around the clock to recover from this catastrophic storm and our customers for their continued understanding and patience.”
Among Consumers customers, Genesee County was the hardest-hit county with 61,000 residents still without power, while nearly 17,000 in Ingham County were awaiting electric service. Terry Brock was taking it in stride.
“There’s no one to be angry at, so I’m not going to be,” said the 32-year-old who, along with his wife, Ashleigh, arrived in East Lansing on Saturday night from their home in Richmond, Va., to spend the holiday with his parents.
“I was basically up all night listening to transformers blow up and listening to branches fall all over the neighborhood,” Mr. Brock said.
When he woke up Sunday and looked out the window from his childhood bedroom, “there was a tree sticking out of my windshield.”
Meanwhile, neighbors were checking on residents of a Lansing senior apartment complex that had its electricity knocked out. The Colonial Village Apartments still had a working boiler that was able to provide some heat on Monday, though temperatures had fallen to about 60 degrees, said Daniel Heikkila, a 63-year-old resident.
“If [the temperature] gets much lower, I don’t how they are going to take it,” he said.