Additional crews working to help restore power

LANSING — To help restore power to the approximately 46,850 electric customers without service after thunderstorms hit the state Thursday, additional electric line crews of more than 50 men and women will be arriving in Michigan Friday to assist Consumers Energy.

The crews from the utility company Ameren Missouri will be working with Consumers Energy to help restore power to the hardest hit areas, including Flint and greater Genesee County.

“I’m glad to see Consumers Energy doing everything possible to help get residents without power across Genesee and Oakland counties service again,” said state Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township.

According to Consumers Energy, more than 450 Consumers Energy electric line workers and contractors, including crews from Indiana, are currently working in several parts of central and eastern Michigan to restore power as safely and quickly as possible.

Additionally, Consumers Energy has more than 1,000 employees dedicated full-time to the power restoration activity, including those assessing system damage, guarding downed wires and customer call center representatives.

As of 11 a.m., Consumers Energy reported approximately 21,089 electric customers remaining without service in Genesee County and about 538 customers without power in Oakland County.

Consumers Energy says that customers in Genesee County may not receive electric service until Saturday or Sunday.

“Those without power should take advantage of the free cooling centers set up across Michigan,” Robertson said. “This is a great way to stay cool until your power is on again.”

You can find cooling centers listed at www.consumersenergy.comor by calling 2-1-1 locally.

“I strongly remind people not to touch downed power lines,” Robertson said. “If you come across a downed line, instead call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or your local police department.”

Consumers Energy encourages customers calling to report no power to use the utility’s automated reporting option, available at 1-800-477-5050.

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Election finance reforms signed into law

LANSING — Michigan has new laws on the books to help increase accountability in Michigan’s elections since a package of bills was recently signed into law, said Sen. Dave Robertson, primary sponsor of the package.

“Our country was founded on democratic principles, and these new laws will help protect the sanctity of our elections process,” said Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township. “I’m glad to see these bills become law.”

The new laws will:

  • Streamline the voter registration process;
  • Increase penalties for inaccurate or missing campaign finance statements;
  • Ensure proper handling of election materials;
  • Require the secretary of state to post the most recent ballot petition language online; and
  • Establish a misdemeanor if an individual solicits or receives compensation to support or oppose a candidate, political committee or political party.

“These new laws will help close the loopholes that previously existed in state law,” said Robertson, chair of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee. “We can all cast our ballots this coming November with more assurance that our elections are fair and democratic. I’m proud to have sponsored four of these important measures.”

Senate Bills 751, 752, 753, 823, 824 and 825 are now Public Acts 270, 272, 274, 276, 277 and 278 of 2012 respectively.