Edison Electric Institute has honored Michigan's Consumers Energy with the association's 2012 Emergency Assistance Award for its efforts to help other electric utilities restore power following Hurricane Sandy.

The electric power industry's Emergency Assistance Award has been presented each year to EEI member electric utility companies since 1998. The award recognizes extraordinary efforts undertaken in restoring electric service to another utility company that has been disrupted by severe weather conditions or other natural events. Consumers Energy was chosen following an international nomination process, and the award was presented during EEI's Winter CEO meeting.

"Consumers Energy's restoration assistance following Hurricane Sandy was truly remarkable," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "Getting the lights back on quickly and safely following a major storm is never easy. Working through the industry's mutual assistance program, Consumers Energy's crews were essential in helping their fellow utility companies restore service in affected neighborhoods. Importantly, Consumers Energy's assistance also shows their compassion in helping others in their time of need. I congratulate them."

Within days of Hurricane Sandy's devastating impact on the East Coast, Consumers Energy released 137 employees to assist with service restoration. In a first for Consumers Energy, it sent a separate team of employees to assist with damage assessment. These employees provided damage assessment in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey over a 14-day time period. Consumers Energy also released 126 electric line and 60 forestry contractor employees for this effort.

"Consumers Energy strongly supports mutual assistance and utilities helping each other in times of need. We are sharpening our readiness to respond to natural crises, and will be maximizing our communication activities in our home state of Michigan during periods of intense storm activity," said Dan Malone, senior vice president of distribution and customer operations for Consumers Energy.