The Latest: Utility OKs regular use of heat at midnight - InfoNews

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The Latest: Utility OKs regular use of heat at midnight

January 31, 2019 - 2:00 PM

LANSING, Mich. - The Latest on efforts to reduce energy use in Michigan amid bitter cold (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Consumers Energy says Michigan residents can stop voluntarily lowering their thermostat at midnight Thursday.

The utility is still asking people to help reduce natural gas use until then after a Wednesday fire at one of its plants — combined with record demand amid bitterly cold weather — led to concerns over the utility's ability to keep gas flowing.

CEO Patti Poppe says the appeal to set thermostats at 65 degrees or lower led to a 10 per cent reduction in use. The facility is partially open while repairs continue.

The fire remains under investigation.

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

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10:15 a.m.

A Michigan utility that warned residents that they risk brief interruptions of natural gas service for heat amid bitterly cold weather if they don't help reduce energy use says efforts to conserve energy are making a difference.

Consumers Energy says in a statement that it's "cautiously optimistic" Thursday morning that its requests to curb natural gas use "are having a positive effect." Auto plants and other big energy users throughout Michigan are joining residential customers in cutting back.

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 (18 degrees Celsius) or below through Friday.

6:20 a.m.

Officials are warning Michigan residents that they risk brief interruptions of natural gas service for heat amid bitterly cold weather if they don't help reduce energy use following a fire at a utility's suburban Detroit facility that affected natural gas supplies.

Consumers Energy's CEO Patti Poppe made an appeal Wednesday night for customers to reduce their natural gas usage. She later told The Detroit News "localized planned curtailments" for some homes and business if demand isn't reduced.

An emergency alert was sent late Wednesday to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (18 degrees Celsius) or below through Friday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked everyone to "to do your part."

Consumers Energy says no one was injured in the fire Wednesday at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County.

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

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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