Widespread power outage hits county; extreme cold causes wire to snap

February 20, 2015

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

OCEANA COUNTY — A large portion of the county lost power early Friday morning, Feb. 20, and some residents in the New Era/Rothbury area remain without power.

“A static, unenergized wire at the top of a pole fell into energized wires for Consumers Energy and Great Lakes Energy,” said Roger Morgenstern, senior public information director for Consumers. “The cold weather caused the static wire to snap. The tension gets greater due to the cold.” A total of 2,305 Consumers customers were without power at 4:50 a.m., and 449 remained without power at 11 a.m. Morgenstern said those Consumers customers still without power should expect it to be restored at noon today. “We have been getting sections back on throughout the morning.”

Record cold has hit the area with temperatures barely hovering over 0 degrees and wind chills well below 0.

“Consumers Energy had an outage at about 5 a.m. in the Rothbury, New Era, Shelby and Hart area,” said Hart City Manager Stan Rickard. “Apparently (it was) a line fault that took down several substations. Hart did some switching on our system to get part of Hart back up. Consumers restored power to Hart at about 8 a.m.”

Mason-Oceana 911 Director Ray Hasil said there were few emergencies called in to the Dispatch Center in regard to the power outage other than a call from an elderly resident who needed assistance with oxygen.