Consumers: Power outages fell 20% in 2022

JACKSON–Consumers Energy, the Jackson-based utility, reported that power outages fell nearly 20 percent in 2022 from 2021 levels.

The company said the decrease occurred after the company made significant upgrades to its electric grid and completed more than 2,000 electric projects last year.

After reviewing last year’s results, the energy provider also reported reducing nearly in half the total number of minutes customers were without power compared to the previous year, and more than 96 percent of outages were restored in less than 24 hours, demonstrating continued investments in the grid and efforts to make it more reliable are paying off.

“Last year we were able to provide more reliable service for our customers because of the work we have been doing to build a more resilient power grid,” said Chris Laird, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric operations. “By trimming trees, investing in our electric grid and using automation and other technology to quickly resolve problems, we will continue to make upgrades to meet our goal of having fewer and shorter power outages for our customers.”

Added Greg Salisbury, Consumers Energy vice president of electric distribution engineering: “The results from 2022 showed improvements across the board. We trimmed vegetation along more miles of lines than ever before, inspected more than 30,000 miles of lines and made repairs where needed, and added new technology on equipment to help prevent and fix outages. It can be easy to get lost in the numbers, but the bottom line is we are building a power grid that is more reliable across the state for all Consumers Energy customers.”

The reduced number of customers impacted by power outages last year was a result of reliability work throughout 2022. The company addressed issues after inspecting more than half of its Low-Voltage Distribution system and the entirety of its High-Voltage Distribution system. The company also completed over 7,100 miles of forestry trimming and maintenance around its lines, addressing the number one cause of power outages in Michigan.

Additional work on the Consumers Energy electric system covered areas across the state and included:

  • Replacing 10,000 poles with sturdier material that can withstand higher winds.
  • Upgrading, rebuilding, and expanding nearly 100 substations.
  • Adding smart technology like 32 Automatic Transfer Reclosuresthat help limit the frequency and duration of power outages.
  • Strategically piloting a project to underground power lines in areas that would receive the greatest benefit for less cost.

Last year’s efforts are part of Consumers Energy’s larger continued efforts to build a stronger energy grid through its five-year, $5.4 billion Electric Reliability Plan. That plan is a blueprint for serving Michigan today and innovating to meet the challenges of the coming decades. Continued investments such as trimming trees, replacing poles and wires and upgrading substations and key equipment are top priorities, especially with climate change causing more frequent and severe weather events. Learn more about the technology and improvements being made to Michigan’s power grid here.

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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