More than 203,000 customers were still without electricity on Sunday after an ice storm caused power outages across the state. It’s been two blackouts for some people in recent months.
When Anna Capling, a nurse who worked in Livonia, Michigan, delivered babies, heard from family members on She stood up to charge her phone on Wednesday as their lights began to flicker amid an approaching ice storm just in case the power went out.
Following a loud boom, everything went dark. She still lacks power a few days later.
“It’s just frustrating,” Ms. Capling said. “As a result of the uncertainty surrounding its return, it almost feels depressing.”
Days after a winter storm that resulted in at least one fatality, Ms. Capling was one of the hundreds of thousands of customers in southern Michigan still battling to stay warm on Saturday.
The Upper Midwest was battered overnight on Wednesday by snow, freezing rain, and wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour, causing havoc and coating trees and power lines in the ice.
The resulting outages sent people to warming centers opened by local governments and the American Red Cross. PowerOutage.us states that as of Sunday night, more than 203,000 customers in Michigan were still without electricity.
Many locals claimed in interviews that the situation is typical. Michigan is among the worst states for power reliability, according to the Citizens Utility Board, a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Illinois that evaluates utilities across the nation.
According to an organization report from 2021, the state was ranked fifth worst, with the typical customer experiencing more than nine hours of outages annually during a significant event. With an average recovery time of six hours following an outage, Michigan is also among the worst states, according to the report.
DTE Energy, one of the major power companies in Michigan, said that the majority of its customers had regained power by Sunday morning, with nearly 4,000 workers restoring power. The company said that most of the remaining outages would be fixed by the end of Sunday.
Another utility in the state, Consumers Energy, estimated that power would be restored in most areas by Sunday, but possibly as late as noon on Monday for some locations. In southern Michigan, including Kalamazoo, fewer than 2,000 of the company’s clients are without electricity.
This is the second power outage for some people who are weathering the winter storm in the last six months. In August, severe thunderstorms caused blackouts throughout the state. Last summer, according to Ms. Capling, she experienced a three-day power outage. She threw away every morsel both times.
“A lot of people can’t afford that,” she said. “It’s very frustrating and upsetting, especially with the rising price of groceries right now.”
Ben Saltsman, a resident of Bloomfield Township who experienced a two-day power outage, claimed that as a result of how frequently blackouts occur, he now follows a certain routine. He empties his ice maker first because, as he has discovered from previous mistakes, it makes a huge mess. The food is then taken to friends who have power after he cleans out his refrigerator.
“We hope they don’t eat the good stuff,” he said.
According to Ms. Capling, she, her husband, and four of their kids—ages 1 to 18—have temporarily relocated to Pinckney to live with her father-in-law. Her husband is able to work from home, but she has a one-hour commute to work. Her children have also missed three days of school.
“My 3½-year-old is just asking when we can go home,” Ms. Capling said.
In southern Michigan, the American Red Cross has also established four warming centers that offer cots, hot meals, and water. Four warming centers were open at one point in Ann Arbor, which has 40 percent of its power out, but by Saturday evening, only one remained, according to city officials.
On Thursday morning when Kathy Space tried to turn on the lights in her Portage, Michigan, home, she knew she was in trouble.
Mrs. Space, 68, had recently returned home from the hospital after experiencing serious kidney problems. She weighs just over 80 pounds, making it difficult for her to get warm.
Her husband Thomas and she watched as the temperature in their house dropped into the low 60s. The two decided it was time to leave when Ms. Space started experiencing headaches and shortness of breath.
“The lower my body temperature gets, the more things start to not function,” she added.
The Spaces attempted to call local hotels, but the majority were booked solid or had exorbitant rates. The couple packed up what they needed from their house and spent Friday night thereafter Mr. Space located the American Red Cross shelter in Kalamazoo.
“It was almost a blessing, just to be able to walk in here and be given a cot,” she said. “It was a surprise to us.”