Keeping the lights on: Behind the scenes at Consumers Energy emergency operations

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — When disaster strikes and thousands of people are without power, you should know there’s a dedicated group of people working to get your power restored.

6 News got a behind the scenes look inside emergency operations at Consumers Energy.

Whatever kind of weather Mother Nature cooks up for us is no match for workers at Consumers Energy’s Restoration Management Center.

“We’re here 24/7 and ready to work and respond,” said Restoration Manager Kate Miller.

From the restoration center in Jackson, workers use the latest technology to see the impact of big weather events, monitoring outages across the state and figuring out where crews need to be sent for repairs.

“We assign our work to make sure we get the largest number of customers restored as quickly as possible,” said Ray Klavon, Executive Director of Grid Management.

They also prepare for potential disasters by keeping a close eye on the weather.

“Generally, 98 percent of the time we’re prepared for each weather event as it comes in,” Klavon said.

When a major disaster strikes and thousands of people are without power, big semi-trucks are dispatched to affected areas so crews have the supplies they need to get power back on.

Consumers has three mobile storm response trailers.

Each one of them is equipped with enough supplies to restore the power of around 10,000 customers.

“The response time can be a lot quicker to get those customers back on, and also it’s visible to our customers out in the field,” said Chip Johnstone, Supply Chain Coordinator for Purchasing.

It’s not uncommon for employees to work overnight or days on end coordinating crews.

They realize that losing power can be frustrating.

But they hope people find comfort knowing when the lights go out, crews are on the job working 24/7 to turn them back on.

“It’s a great team effort, no one group, whether it be operations or restoration, does it alone,” Klavon said.

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