Emergency alert asks residents to lower thermostats

Utility fire Macomb County

Utility fire Macomb County

The fire damaged equipment at Consumers Energy's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County, reducing the amount of natural gas available for delivery.

A man runs by the Chicago River during subzero temperatures carried by the polar vortex, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., January 30, 2019.

Fiat Chrysler also canceled the first shifts of production for Thursday at its Warren Truck and Sterling Heights Assembly palnts.

Officials are warning MI 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.

Michigan State Police released a statement Wednesday evening asking citizens to ease the burden on the natural gas supply by dropping thermostats as low as 65 degrees when at home, blocking leaks where heat might escape, and unplugging devices not in use.

Other big commercial users also closed plants or reduced natural gas usage. "It was extremely important and we can not express our gratitude deeply enough", Poppe said.

"I'm coming to you now to ask for your help". The company said it activated natural gas peaking storage fields to help meet demand.

Midwestern states are experiencing natural gas shortages amid subzero temperatures, including in MI, where GM shuttered more than a dozen plants and told thousands of employees to work from home. "Ensuring out of an abundance of caution that everyone's home is safe and warm tonight". While officials were unsure about the cause of the fire, they thanked the public for its response to lowering their thermostats.

No one was injured in the fire Wednesday at Consumers Energy's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County.

Ford Motor said it had also taken steps to reduce energy use at its four MI plants supplied by Consumers Energy, but added the situation remained fluid.

The utility says the spike in demand for energy is placing stress on the Midwest grid. The automaker has not announced when work would resume but Consumers Energy is asking Michiganers to cut back on the natural gas use until at least the end of the workweek.

An explosion and fire at a Consumers Energy facility in northern Macomb County could've spelled disaster for areas throughout southeast MI.

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