Consumers Energy asks Michiganders to turn down heat

Consumers Energy asks Michiganders to turn down heat

Around 4:30 Thursday, Consumers Energy said they could give the all clear - effective Friday at midnight.

"We don't know when we're going to be able to return to normal operations", said Consumers spokesman Roger Morgenstern.

The utility says gas flow from the station was shut off, putting MI residents at risk of brief service interruptions in sub-zero temperatures.

Consumers Energy sent an alert to mobile phones in MI asking residents to reduce natural gas use.

Dangerously low temperatures across the US forced several automakers, including General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, to halt production at some of their plants.

General Motors was hit much harder, suspending operations at factories in Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, Pontiac, Orion Township and Bay City, Michigan.

Editor's note: Both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are corporate sponsors of Michigan Radio.

After bankruptcy, PG&E headed back to court over wildfires
NextEra earlier this month asked FERC to block the utility from amending or rejecting PPAs with several providers. PG&E's bankruptcy filing made clear that it will continue its operations, including fire prevention efforts.

Local news reports point to a "fire at a utility's suburban Detroit facility" that forced Consumers Energy to ask customers to use less energy. Spartan Motors, which makes emergency and other large vehicles, suspended manufacturing in Charlotte, Michigan, near Lansing, idling about 800 workers.

Consumers Energy said in a statement Thursday that it's "cautiously optimistic" its requests to curb natural gas use are "having a positive effect". Localised outages were possible for some homes and businesses if demand isn't reduced.

After that - Consumers Energy and then Governor Whitmer called on people in MI to cut back on their natural gas usage.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer echoed that request in a video posted on her Facebook page, and Consumers Energy President and CEO, Patti Poppe, also released a video with an urgent request for help reducing demand.

Temperatures in the state early Thursday fell to their lowest levels of the week, with readings around negative 12 degrees (negative 24 degrees Celsius) in the Detroit area and at bitterly cold levels statewide. While officials were unsure about the cause of the fire, they thanked the public for its response to lowering their thermostats. All gas flow from the compressor station has been shut in until safety and damage assessments can be completed.

In a live Facebook video, CMS Energy CEO Patti Poppe thanked companies for the cutbacks but also urged 1.8 million non-corporate MI customers to use as little natural gas as possible so that places like hospitals and nursing homes would not be without power.

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