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Health, Science and Environment

Consumers Energy gives “all clear” on heat conservation starting at Midnight Thursday

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Lane Montgomery
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https://flic.kr/p/5WLhnw

Residents and businesses in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula won’t need to conserve heat after Midnight on Thursday.

Consumers Energy announced the all clear at an afternoon press conference.

Residents and businesses were first asked to lower their heat on Wednesday after a fire at a natural gas storage facility and compressor station reduced the amount of gas that could be sent to customers.

Patti Poppe is the President and CEO of Consumers Energy. She said the demand on the system reduced by 10% after the request for residents to lower their thermostats to 65 degrees or lower was made.

“The actions that people took made a difference and I can not express, again, our gratitude for people taking the action because it worked.”

Gas customers not using Consumers Energy were also asked to reduce their heat due to the interconnectedness of the state’s gas system.

Questions have been raised about the Consumers storage facility which was handling 64% of the companies natural gas at the time of the fire.

Poppe said she supports the Governor’s plan to review the state’s natural gas, propane, and electric system.

“We’re very interested in partnering with the state to make sure that we have a system that is robust and resilient. I will remind you that this is the first time in 130 years that we’ve had to exercise this level of  situation.”

Garrick Rochow is the Senior Vice President of Operations for Consumers Energy. He said the problem only occurred because of the peak weather conditions.

“In a peak condition as we saw with these extreme colds, yeah 64%, was flowing through that facility, but on a normal winter day that would be much less.”

According to officials, the investigation of the fire is still ongoing.