Thousands remain without power in Michigan
Written by DAVID N. GOODMAN, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 07:37

DETROIT (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents remained without power Monday after a weekend ice storm blacked out at least 488,000 homes and businesses, made driving hazardous and may have caused a jetliner with 180 people on board to slide off a taxiway at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The wintry blast hit Saturday night, and three of the state's largest utilities said about 314,000 of their customers remained without service Monday afternoon.

The utilities said it would be days before most power is restored because of the difficulty of working around ice-broken lines. Clinton and Genesee county authorities were among those who opened shelters for residents without power or heat.

DTE Energy Co. said that work was underway to restore service to 88,000 blacked-out customers Monday afternoon out of about 150,000 affected since the storms hit.

"Crews are working 16-hour shifts around the clock to restore power," DTE Energy spokeswoman Erica Donerson said in an email. "Nearly 400 linemen from utilities in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and Georgia are assisting with restoration efforts."

CMS Energy Corp. said that 303,000 of its Consumers Energy unit's power customers were affected, and 183,000 remained off line at 9:30 p.m. Monday.

"We know this is a difficult time for our customers, but we want them to know we are pouring as many resources as possible into this effort," said CMS Energy's president for energy delivery, Mary Palkovich.

In Lansing, about 35,000 customers of the city's power company lost service, and about 30,000 remain off line Monday, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Marie Christensen of Genesee County's Thetford Township told MLive.com that she and her husband, Hans, were preparing to host the family for Christmas when the power went out. She said she has been told it may be after the holiday before the lights come back on.

The couple have been using their oven to heat the house, MLive.com reported.

"I'm no pioneer girl - I like my TV, computer and iPad," Marie Christensen said, laughing. "But it could be worse. We're warm."

Delta Air Lines said freezing on a taxiway was suspected in an accident at Detroit Metropolitan Airport early Monday in which an Atlanta-bound jetliner slid onto the grass. No one was hurt.

The plane "may have hit some black ice" before sliding from the taxiway onto a grassy area around 6:40 a.m., said Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant. He said the passengers safely got off the plane and were rebooked on a flight scheduled to take off later in the day.

The plane was towed to a Delta hangar and didn't appear damaged, said airport spokesman Brian Lassaline. He said conditions were wet and the surface temperature dropped overnight. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

There were no other disruptions to flights at the Romulus airfield Monday, Lassaline said.


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