The recent ice storm that swept across Maine and Michigan the week before Christmas may have done some damage, but it also appears to have had a positive impact: awareness and appreciation for the utility crews who worked tirelessly through the holidays to restore power as quickly as possible.
Several citizens from Maine, for example, sent thank you letters to a local media outlet expressing their gratitude. The following are some excerpts:
“Sitting in my warm truck driving 300 miles was nothing compared to those without power and all those workers who left their homes on Christmas Eve to travel far away and miss Christmas with their families to help us here in Maine…We toss the word hero around a lot these days, but, to me, these people truly are heroes.” – Pete Curtis, Pittsfield
“There were the more than 12 power company trucks I saw in Bucksport, many parked while workers (looking clearly exhausted) grabbed a late dinner. How fortunate we were to have them working on our behalf and giving up their time on Christmas with their families.” - Sue Kircheis, Carmel
“I want to thank all the electric company employees and their families. They have worked through the holidays, giving up their own merry Christmas, to ensure so many of us can be safe and warm in our homes…I want everyone involved to know how much I, and I’m sure others, appreciate their sacrifice.” – Catherine McLoud, Corea
For Consumer’s Energy, the storm caused 413,000 outages, or nearly 23 percent of the utility’s 1.8 million electric customers. More than 3,000 office and field workers from Consumers Energy, 13 different states and Washington, D.C. helped with the restoration effort from what the utility referred to as “one of the largest storms in [its] 126-year history.”
DTE Energy even posted an update on Christmas day: “We continue to work 16-hour shifts to fulfill our commitment to you, the customer. The levels of kindness and appreciation that we have received thus far is heartwarming. We truly thank you all for your patience during the restoration process. Though this has been frustrating for many of you, rest assured that we are utilizing all resources to restore power as promptly as possible.”
The first storm of the New Year also occurred this past week. PSE&G reported little impact on its electric system, with just 30 of its 2.2 million electric customers without service.