State officials ask residents to lower thermostats to protect gas supply

Published 10:27 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

MICHIGAN — Following a gas fire at Consumers Energy’s Ray Township facility in Macomb County, state officials are asking lower peninsula residents to take steps to protect the natural gas supply.

The fire took place Wednesday morning, compromising one of Consumers Energy’s seven natural gas compressor stations. Now, the company and state officials are asking Michigan residents — even those outside the Consumers Energy coverage area — to turn down their thermostats and conserve energy until Friday, warning that heat interruptions could occur if residents do not comply.

“I’m coming to you now to ask for your help,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a press release Wednesday night. “Due to extremely high demand for natural gas with these record low temperatures and a facility incident, Consumers Energy has asked that everyone who is able to turn down their thermostats through Friday at noon so we can all get through this with minimal harm.”

To protect the gas supply without compromising safety, the Michigan Public Service Commission recommends:

  • Turning thermostats down a couple of degrees, with 65 degrees being recommended
  • blocking leaks around windows and doors
  • unplugging electronic devices when not in use
  • adjusting staffing or processes

To contribute, all state of Michigan owned facilities in the Lower-Peninsula are lowering their thermostats by 5-degrees to lessen the burden on the natural gas supply.

“This unfortunate incident happened at a difficult time for our state and we ask that everyone do what they can to make sure there is a plentiful supply of natural gas to keep everyone safe and warm during the extreme cold weather,” said Michigan Public Service Chairman Sally Talberg in a public statement. “Working together for the good of the state, we can reduce our energy use and maintain safe, reliable service.”