Manistee County Consumers Energy Customers React to Power Outage

The sounds of generators hummed for hours in parts of Northern Michigan after a squirrel caused a big power outage.

More than 1,300 Consumers Energy customers dealt with the outage for five hours earlier today.

A squirrel managed to climb inside the East Lake substation in Manistee County, cutting power to many homes and businesses.

Big Al’s Pizza and Subs had a lot of disappointed customers because they didn’t have power for half of their lunch rush.

Plus, Northern Michigan’s News Leader learned how West Shore Medical Center adjusts during an outage.

One of their two massive generators is responsible for keeping patients safe when the power goes out.

It kicks on almost instantly.

"Within five seconds actually the generator starts ups to supply power to all emergency circuits, which are defined as anything that’s life safety or life support," says WSMC Plant Director Jerry Groll.

Other places in Manistee may not be responsible for people’s lives, but Big Al’s Pizza and Subs is responsible for feeding customers.

They were doing prep work when their power cut out.

"We couldn’t do any of our baking so we had to rush everything back into the walk-ins and then find time to kill," says Big Al’s President David Anderson.

They estimate they lost out on nearly 100 orders during the outage.

"We had two people here just to answer phones to explain to people we didn’t have power. So from 11-12:30 p.m. it was nonstop ‘Sorry, sorry we’re out of power.’ So we’re definitely at a loss for the day," says Anderson.

Big Al’s had to rush to play catch up, but they’re confident they’ll make up for the business they lost.

"It’s the trials and tribulations of living in Northern Michigan. We see it once a year, so we’re used to it. You just never can plan for it," says Anderson.

Despite changing their restoration time to 3:45 p.m. earlier today, Consumers says everyone did have power back by about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.