Utility companies worked to restore electricity after fierce ice storms felled power lines in Michigan, parts of upstate New York, New England and Canada during Christmas week, leaving tens of thousands in the dark.
Parts of the nation enjoyed a white Christmas, according to the National Weather Service. But with the snow came frigid temperatures that slowed repair efforts and allowed the ice that has weighed down and snapped power lines to persist.
“A quarter of an inch of ice is the equivalent of 500 pounds of weight on a span of power line,” Michigan utility company DTE said in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon. “In some areas, as much as three-quarters of an inch has been found on DTE Energy power lines.”
DTE and other companies in the affected areas have been using social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to update customers and assure them that workers are braving the harsh weather to fix the outages as soon as possible.
As of 5 p.m., Central Maine Power Co. said on its website that it had restored service to more than 105,000 of the 123,000 customers affected by the storm. Company spokesman John Carroll said in a statement that the company hopes to lower the number of those without power to 10,000 by late Thursday night.
In Michigan, the state’s largest utility, Consumers Energy, reported 73,500 customers without power as of 6 p.m.
“Safety is still our biggest focus as we work to get all customers restored,” the company wrote on its Facebook page.
The company is updating the number of outages in the area on a map on its website.
Earlier in the day, DTE Energy wrote on Facebook that it expected the last of its customers to have power restored by the weekend because of additional power outages Wednesday and Thursday.
“Frigid temperatures, snow and higher velocity winds are making restoration work more challenging, and new power outages have occurred as ice continues to put weight on power lines and tree branches,” DTE said.
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