Urgent appeal seeks to curb energy use in MI amid cold

Urgent appeal seeks to curb energy use in MI amid cold

Urgent appeal seeks to curb energy use in MI amid cold

Dozens of MI auto plants and large commercial buildings that were forced to close or cut operations Thursday due to a natural gas shortage can resume production at midnight.

Consumers Energy says customers can turn their heat back up after midnight.

The utility says gas flow from the station was shut off, putting MI residents at risk of brief service interruptions with wind chills below zero.

Wednesday night, Consumers Energy CEO Pattie Poppe took to Facebook Live to ask customers to reduce natural gas use. Temperatures in MI were at their lowest levels of the week, with readings around negative 12 degrees in the Detroit area and at bitterly cold levels statewide.

Fiat Chrysler Ford Motor Co. also cut natural gas use and interrupted production schedules, AN reported.

The utility says gas flow from the station was shut off, putting MI residents at risk of brief service interruptions with wind chills below zero.

Poppe said the usage cuts by large businesses were not enough, and urged 1.8 million MI customers to turn down thermostats as much as they could to cut natural gas use in order to protect critical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also said it had canceled a shift on Thursday at both its Warren Truck and Sterling Heights Assembly plants and was considering whether it would need to cancel additional shifts.

Workers at its Warren Tech Center were also told to stay home on Thursday.

An explosion and fire at a Consumers Energy facility in northern Macomb County could've spelled disaster for areas throughout southeast MI. The utility said that while its own lines were performing well, "our system is connected to energy grids in other states and Canada that are experiencing issues due to the extreme weather".

Poppe credits residential customers and large industrial users that stopped operations with stepping up to help ensure people have heat.

"We plan for these extreme conditions - we had enough gas available", she said. The facility provides 64 percent of Consumers' natural gas supply. Whitmer asked residents to turn their thermostats to 65 degrees or lower until noon Friday. The Jackson-based utility says no one was injured in the fire Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County.

The cause of the fire is not known yet.

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