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      Consumers Energy says 'we're ready' if storm causes power outages

      Consumers Energy is reminding customers what to do before, during and after a winter storm, as the utility company prepares for what is expected to be the season's first large storm late this week.

      Consumers Energy is making preparations to respond to any electric service interruptions that may result from the storm. High winds and heavy, wet snow may result in outages, but Consumers says they are prepared.

      "Our customers can rest assured that they can count on us to be ready when this storm hits," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy vice president of energy delivery. "We are mobilizing company and contract personnel and equipment to be in place for rapid response to any customer power outages."

      While the utility is prepared, Consumers is urging customers to be prepared themselves for this and other winter storms.

      "It's important that we take time to plan for severe weather activity," Rochow said. "Being prepared can minimize the impact of a storm and help you and your family to stay safe."

      Consumers urges customers to keep several days of food that does not need cooking or refrigeration, as well as several days of water in case pipes freeze. About 5 gallons per person per day are advised by the company.

      Residents are also urged to charge electronic devices and cell phones that can be used to report an emergency or check the status of a power outage or local emergency assistance. If possible, Consumers says you should have an extra cell phone battery charged to act as a backup.

      Keep flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and a list of emergency numbers accessible.

      If you lose power, you can report it to Consumers Energy by calling 1-800-477-5050 or online at