MPSC Urges Safety Around Utilities for those Affected by Flooding

May 3, 2019

The Michigan Public Service Commission today urged residents who are affected by flooding in southeast Michigan to be aware of the impact on their utility services.

Severe weather that led to flooded yards, streets and basements can create unsafe conditions in homes and neighborhoods. Follow these safe practices during and after the emergency:

  • Call your utility to let them know power is out. Advise the company if there is emergency medical equipment in the residence.
  • Never touch plugs, cords or fuse boxes when standing in water or on damp surfaces.
  • If outdoor power lines are down, stay at least 20 feet away until they are repaired.
  • When using a portable power generator, never run it indoors. Generators give off deadly carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal.
  • If using supplemental heating sources, be sure to follow the rules for safe operation: Don’t plug it into an extension cord, don’t leave it unattended, make sure the chimney flue is open before using a fireplace. Never use the stove as a heat source.
  • Be aware of utility imposters, either on the phone or in person. Ask for a company ID and verify a person’s identity before you allow them into your home or on your property.
  • Never give out your utility account number, date of birth, or Social Security number.
  • When electricity is restored, power levels can vary. Wait a few minutes before turning on lights, and plug in appliances one at a time.
  • Use a certified professional to relight pilots on water heaters or other appliances that may have been in standing water.
  • Before using your furnace or gas appliances, have a professional evaluate it for damage and safe operation.
  • If the furnace, water heater, or any other appliance is ruined due to water damage, replace them with EnergyStar-certified, efficient models to help save on energy bills.
  • Check with your utility for rebates that may be available toward the purchase of energy-efficient appliance replacements.

For issues with utilities, call the MPSC Customer Assistance line at (800) 292-9555, or go online to www.Michigan.gov/MPSC to fill out a complaint form.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today declared a state of emergency in Wayne County to address the aftermath of this week’s heavy rainfall and flooding.

For information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc, sign up for one of its listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter. To watch a livestream of the MPSC’s meetings, click here.

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