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Consumers Energy: All Clear

Utility Says Appeal to Conserve Natural Gas Expires At Midnight

Updated at 10:15pm 1/30/19 - Posted by Perry Pulse at 10:11pm 1/30/19

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UPDATE: In a statement released Thursday evening, Consumers Energy now says its appeal to customers to dial down their thermostats and use less natural gas after a fire at one of its facilities, will end at midnight on Friday. After the late Wednesday night appeal and emergency alert sent to phones across the lower peninsula, natural gas consumption was reduced by 10% through the overnight hours, Consumers says. That savings meant the utility did not have to interrupt gas service to customers as it cautioned could be possible.

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Consumers Energy CEO, Patti Poppe, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer have issued separate pleas to residents to immediately turn down your thermostat.  Whitmer asked residents to drop it to 65 or below.  This, after an explosion and fire at one of Consumers' primary facilities on Wednesday morning now prevents the utility from distributing natural gas to customers.

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Already, numerous large companies including GM and Ford have interrupted production schedules in an effort to help conserve the natural gas that is available, but Poppe said in a Facebook Live video that it's not enough.

"I need you to take action right now," Poppe said, asking all Michigan residents to reduce their thermostat "as much as you can."

"We understand the timing of this situation and our request to customers is not ideal given today’s extremely cold temperatures. We are activating natural gas peaking storage fields in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas to our customers. Natural gas is stored underground and reserved in these fields, which are activated when energy demand requires it," Consumers Energy said in a comment on the video feed.

While addressing residents in a Facebook Live video, Governor Whitmer urged viewers to share the information on Facebook and to call family and friends.  

An Emergency Alert was sent to cell phones at 10:30pm.

This is a developing situation.  Updates expected.

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