Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health, Science and Environment

Public Service Commission launches investigation into Consumers Energy fire, state energy supply

Lane Montgomery

The Michigan Public Service Commission on Thursday launched an investigation into the Consumers Energy gas fire that caused a state of emergency during the polar vortex.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer called for an investigation into the fire and into the state’s energy supply following the crisis, which required residents to lower their heat to 65 degrees to conserve energy.

Nick Assendelft is with the Michigan Public Service Commission. He said one of the questions the commission will look at is whether too much natural gas was stored at a single station - which made it difficult to serve the state when that station went down.

“That’s one thing we’ll take a look at. Is that a good thing, should there be some redundancies there, if there are three plants at that location if one goes down is there a way to make sure the other two are up to snuff or able to pick up the slack?”

He said the investigation of Consumers will look into the causes of the fire and the utility’s response.

“Trying to piece together exactly how everything occurred in the timeline and see if that can help us draw any kind of conclusions.”

A separate assessment will also look at the state’s overall energy reliability and will develop contingency plans in case of an emergency.

The report on the Consumers fire is due in May. The initial assessment of the state’s overall energy infrastructure and reliability is expected in July.