Authorities in Michigan, Maine, New York and other East Coast states report progress in repairing power lines damaged by last week’s major winter storm, but say that it could be New Year’s Day before power is back for all customers. Tens of thousands of people were still without power across the upper Northeast as of Sunday, some having gone as long as a week without electricity. The storm also left more than a half million people across Eastern Canada without power.
The powerful winter storm has caused at least 27 deaths — 17 in the U.S. and 10 reported by Canadian authorities. Almost half of the deaths are related to carbon-monoxide poisoning from gasoline-powered backup generators.
Detroit and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula hit hard
According to CBS Detroit, more than 660,000 homes and businesses in Michigan lost power for at least a short period of time during last week’s winter storm. Five people in Michigan died during the storm, including three automobile accident-related fatalities and two people who died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Temperatures as low as 15 below zero were reported at locations in Michigan’s upper Peninsula including Ironwood, and another winter storm with single-digit temperatures was due to arrive in the area by mid-week.
Residents upset at power delays
Although the numbers are down to just a few thousand, Michigan homeowners still without power are becoming understandably frustrated with the situation. Some residents showed up at a news conference sponsored by Jackson-based CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE:CMS), upset and angrily demanding how much longer they must live in cold homes or stay in hotels, according to the Lansing State Journal.
“When it first happened, I had all the confidence in the world because they said ‘all hands on deck,’” said Matthew Oney of East Lansing. Oney has been racking up a bill staying in a hotel this week with his wife and infant daughter.
Government officials in Lansing and East Lansing said they would investigate how local utilities had dealt with the power outages.