RAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP/WILX) — Consumers warned residents that they risked brief interruptions of natural gas service for heat amid bitterly cold weather if they didn't reduce energy use, says efforts to conserve energy is making a difference.
Consumers Energy said in a statement Thursday that it's "cautiously optimistic" its requests to curb natural gas use "are having a positive effect."
Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe said how sorry the company was for consumers to have to go through this.
She also said there has already been a 10% reduction in usage calculated and it's making a difference.
Auto plants and other big energy users throughout Michigan are joining residential customers in cutting back.
"Consumers Energy greatly appreciates conservation efforts by all natural gas customers across Lower Michigan to assist with a supply issue on the company’s gas distribution network. Conservation, even by gas customers served by other utilities than Consumers Energy, is making a difference," was said Thursday in an announcement from Consumers.
In the announcement they said that they need the conservation efforts to continue through the end of Friday, Feb. 1.
Consumers Energy's CEO Patti Poppe made an appeal Wednesday following a fire at one of its suburban Detroit facilities that affected natural gas supplies.
An emergency alert was sent late Wednesday to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees or below through Friday.
The Jackson-based utility says no one was injured in the fire Wednesday at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Consumers says all gas flow from the station was shut off, and it activated natural gas peaking storage fields to help meet the demand for gas to heat homes and businesses.
"Repairs at our Ray Compressor Station are ongoing and the station is partially in service, providing natural gas to our distribution system. However, we are asking that all customers continue to conserve until the end of the day Friday, Feb. 1, to allow for temperatures to moderate and additional repairs to the Ray Station."
The Michigan Public Service Commission said all state-owned facilities in the Lower Peninsula lowered their thermostats by 5 degrees to reduce the burden on the natural gas supply.
They are urging customers to shut and seal windows and doors and close them tightly while checking for cold air leaks.
Consumers Energy is also asking businesses to reduce their gas usage.