Consumers Energy has asked all customers to voluntarily reduce their natural gas usage as a result of an unexpected fire in southeast Michigan.
“As a result of an unexpected incident at a gas compressor station this morning in southeast Michigan, we are asking customers to temporarily reduce gas usage at this time while we continue to contain the incident and help keep Michigan residents warm during this cold spell,” said Garrick Rochow, senior vice president of Operations for Consumers Energy.
A fire involving equipment at Consumers Energy’s Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station occurred in Macomb County at 10:33 a.m. on Jan. 30.
All gas flow from the compressor station has been shut off until safety and damage assessments can be completed.
The Michigan Public Service Chairman released the following statement:
“Staff from the Gas Operations Section of the Michigan Public Service Commission is on site at Consumers Energy’s Ray Township facility in Macomb County to ensure public safety following a fire involving equipment at a gas compressor station. 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. Without jeopardizing safety, there are some measures Michigan residents and businesses can take to reduce gas and electric use, such as turning thermostats down a couple of degrees, blocking leaks around windows and doors, unplugging electronic devices when not in use, and adjusting staffing or processes. 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. Working together for the good of the state, we can reduce our energy use and maintain safe, reliable service.”
Consumers Energy is activating natural gas peaking storage fields in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas to their customers.
Natural gas is stored underground and reserved in these fields, which are activated when energy demand requires it.
“The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority. Without additional statewide reductions, we run the risk of not being able to deliver natural gas to homes and critical facilities across Michigan – a scenario none of us want to encounter. As resilient Michiganders, we know that we are all in this together and we can count on customers to come through in this unpresented time of need,” the company said in a statement.
In addition, the company has reached out to its largest business customers to reduce gas usage while they continue to investigate the incident.
“Due to extremely high demand for natural gas with record-low temperatures, and an incident at a facility, @ConsumersEnergy has asked everyone who is able to please turn down their thermostats to 65° or less until Friday at noon. #MIREADY,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tweeted on Wednesday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Because of the gas shortage, Huron Casting and Blue Diamond Steel Casting is closed on Thursday. Production companies are not to report until first shift on Friday morning. All skilled trades, administration, supervisors and axis machine operators are to report as normal.
Residents and businesses can reduce gas usage by doing the following:
For more information or tips, visit: www.consumersenergy.com/coldweather