By Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Utility crews from Michigan will help their counterparts in North Carolina restore power to thousands of homes and businesses following a series of severe winter storms that swept across the nation’s midsection and parts of the South.

Nearly 50 Consumers Energy workers were scheduled leave Wednesday for Newton, North Carolina, the Jackson, Michigan-based utility said Wednesday.

Crews may be asked to perform additional restoration work in neighboring states because of the widespread damage and additional severe weather expected, Consumers Energy said.

Blasts of snow and deep cold have overwhelmed power grids, leaving millions of people in the United States without electricity. Utilities from Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi have implemented rolling blackouts to ease the burden on power grids straining to meet extreme demand for heat and electricity.

Consumers Energy workers will assist crews for Duke Energy. The work is coordinated through Great Lakes Mutual Assistance, a group of electric providers in 10 states that work together to restore power after major storms.

Consumers Energy said 15 contractor crews also are headed to Richmond, Virginia.

“We have benefited from mutual assistance during large storms here. Now is our time to help others,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy vice president of electric operations.

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