Nightly News   |  December 27, 2013

Crews put in 18 hour days to restore power in Michigan

Linemen have arrived from as far away as Wisconsin, Ohio and Maryland to help restore power to homes in Michigan where freezing temperatures have made for a chilly holiday. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> tonight, tens of thousands of families are still in the dark and cold. for some of them it's been six days since the power went out during a big ice storm . as nbc's kevin tibbles reports tonight from charlotte, michigan , power crews are racing to get the lights and heat back on.

>> reporter: the sun barely shows itself, but crews are already in the sky. how come you're smiling?

>> happy to be out here getting people's power back on for them.

>> reporter: they have come from as far as wisconsin, ohio and maryland. putting in 18-hour days away from their own families at christmas.

>> we had various wire-downs and our number one priority is customer safety and employee safety. so we have to make sure we keep the public safe.

>> reporter: it's freezing cold down here on the ground where i am. where he's working it's probably 15 to 20 degrees colder in the wind. here, heavy ice buckled power lines . the crew is efficient and fast. residents, very thankful.

>> we have so many christmas cookies . i don't think me or dave would care to have another one. they have all been appreciative. we haven't had one bad thing said to us.

>> reporter: some will have to wait a while longer.

>> unfortunately the power company has run out of the meter boxes they need to reinstall so we can get hooked back up.

>> reporter: in maine, compounding headaches for those in the dark.

>> it's pretty but it's causing damage.

>> reporter: still, a thank you from residents here, too. back in michigan with the line repaired dave fletcher hoists a pole, finally restoring power.

>> essentially just flicking the switch?

>> yep. just close it in.

>> reporter: homeowner tom nickett breathes a sigh of relief.

>> my christmas tree lights are on.

>> reporter: that's a good sign. he then quickly heads to the thermostat. his house got down to 37 degrees.

>> the furnace is on.

>> reporter: he returns back outside to catch the crew before they leave.

>> thanks a lot, guys. i appreciate it.

>> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, charlotte, michigan .