Consumers Energy: Conservation efforts working but keep the thermostat low through Friday

    Patti Poppe, the chief executive officer at Consumers Energy, issued a public request to limit gas consumption following a fire a one of the utility's facilities, and amid unusually cold temperatures in Michigan. (WWMT/Courtesy of Consumers Energy)

    Consumers Energy on Thursday renewed its public call for customers to reduce gas usage, saying it is "cautiously optimistic" that the effort is working.

    The Michigan utility company issued a statewide alert late Wednesday, warning residents that they risk brief interruptions of natural gas service for heat amid bitterly cold weather if customers don't help to reduce energy use.

    In a written statement released Thursday, Consumers Energy said the requests to curb natural gas use "are having a positive effect." Auto plants and other big energy users throughout Michigan joined residential customers in cutting back.

    Consumers Energy's CEO Patti Poppe made the appeal Wednesday following a fire at one of the utility's suburban Detroit facilities. No one was injured in the fire at the Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County. The emergency alert was sent to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (18 degrees Celsius) or below through Friday.

    In the statement Thursday, the utility company said repairs at that facility are ongoing and the station is partially in service, providing natural gas to the distribution system. However, the need remains for conservation while waiting for temperatures to moderate and the completion of repairs at the Ray Station.

    Also on Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked everyone in the state to "to do your part."

    DTE Energy, meanwhile, also is asking Michigan customers to help "safeguard the reliability of the regional energy grid" amid the cold by voluntarily reducing electricity use.


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