JACKSON, Mich. -

A winter storm that brought freezing rain across much of southern Lower Michigan has left thousands of Consumers Energy customers without power.

Statewide, more than 155,000Consumers Energy electric customers are without service. Since noon Saturday, more than 175,000 customers have been affected by weather-related outages.

"We have been preparing for this storm for several days and are working hard to safely to restore electric service,” said the utility’s Vice President of Energy Delivery Mary Palkovich. "Freezing rain not only brings down power lines but also causes treacherous driving conditions for our men and women responding to this storm. We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to survey the damage, make areas with downed wires safe and restore power."

As of 9:15 a.m., areas most affected by electric interruptions were: Allegan (4,706 customers); Barry (14,415); Calhoun (6,103); Clinton (10,353); Eaton (9,446); Genesee (39,652); Gratiot (3,125); Ingham (12,607); Ionia (4,961); Jackson (824); Kalamazoo (4,532); Kent(21,958); Livingston (3,839); Montcalm (3,679); Ottawa (1,347); Saginaw (3,217) and Shiawassee (13,137). Updated outage information is available atwww.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap.

With freezing rain persisting Sunday morning in portions of the state, Consumers Energy is investigating the damage before estimating when customers will regain power. A significant number of customers who have been without electric service since midday Saturday may be without power for several days and additional storm activity could prolong restoration times.

Customers who lose electricity for an extended period of time may want to investigate if public shelters are available. In most counties, residents can dial 2-1-1 to receive shelter information or to request assistance. Before going to a shelter, residents are asked to contact their local emergency management office to confirm the availability of services.

Customers who call Consumers Energy to report a power outage are encouraged to use the utility’s automated reporting option, available at 1-800-477-5050. Outages can also be reported and restoration information obtained via Consumers Energy’s online outage map, atwww.ConsumersEnergy.com/outagemap.

Consumers Energy reminds customers to make sure generators are properly connected and that it is isolated from the utility's electric distribution system. Generators should never be used in enclosed areas or near intakes.