TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Power outage amid freeze in Michigan may last into next week

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, 9:06 p.m.
 

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Staring at a sixth day without power in a house as cold as a refrigerator, a frustrated John Johnson finally was able to borrow a generator from a neighbor on Friday.

He “never in a million years” thought his tree-lined city neighborhood near Michigan State University would be without electricity this long.

But it could be Sunday or even the middle of next week before the power is back after a weekend ice storm that tore off tree limbs and snuffed out lights from Michigan to Maine and into Canada over the Christmas holiday.

“Hopefully, I make it through without any frozen pipes until the (utility) gets in here,” said Johnson, 63, as he tried setting up the generator to warm up the house above 40 degrees before giving it back to his neighbor.

Michigan bore the brunt of the storm as nearly 600,000 homes and businesses lost power, and as of Friday afternoon, about 60,000 customers remained in the dark.

Maine reported almost 12,000 outages. In eastern Canada, nearly 62,000 hadn't had their power restored, including 33,000 in Toronto.

Tens of thousands of Michigan residents such as Johnson are the unlucky ones still waiting. Some have abandoned their homes to stay elsewhere. Others are riding it out, either by choice — not wanting to leave pets or unattended houses — or because they have nowhere else to go.

Their Christmas plans were ruined or inconvenienced, and now their frustration is boiling over.

The residents know the storm was bad and appreciate the around-the-clock efforts of line crews, but in East Lansing, for instance, residents are questioning the response by the municipal utility.

“Where's the money going? The money we pay in power bills, the money that they spend to cut these trees down to keep the power lines open doesn't seem to really be working, in my mind,” said Jon Irvin, 35.

Irvin drove an hour north to Mount Pleasant on Sunday to buy a $500 generator because he couldn't find any in the Lansing area. It powers his furnace and a few lights.

“We couldn't really afford it, but we did it anyway,” he said. “Every day, it's been a better and better purchase.”

Anger was building in Surry, Maine, where one Bangor Hydro customer approached a line crew and made a threatening phone call Thursday on learning the crew wasn't working on the circuit necessary to restore his power. The utility temporarily had the crew leave the area until police investigated.

No charges will be filed against the man, state police said.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Cincy officer indicted on murder charge in fatal shooting of motorist
  2. Undocumented alien released, suspected in crime spree
  3. Clinton to testify before House committee on Benghazi in October
  4. Cruz chided over remarks in prelude to Ex-Im Bank vote
  5. Feds accuse Philadelphia congressman Fattah of corruption
  6. Planned Parenthood requests expert study
  7. University of New Hampshire language guide panned
  8. Calif. oil slick expected to dissipate
  9. Cruz switches targets, takes exception with IRS practices
  10. VA health system short 41K physicians
  11. Minn. man accused of slaying protected Zimbabwean lion says he thought the trip was legal