Please turn down thermostat due to fire, high demand

Michigan Utility Companies Ask Customers to Turn Down Heat in Minus-12-Degree Cold After Fire at Gas Plant

The facility provides 64 percent of Consumers' natural gas supply.

Ford and Fiat Chrysler plants have also heeded the utility's call.

Dozens of MI auto plants and large commercial buildings that were forced to close or cut operations Thursday due to a natural gas shortage can resume production at midnight. About 30,000 employees were affected at GM alone.

Fiat Chrysler said on Thursday it canceled two additional shifts at its Warren Truck and Sterling Heights Assembly plants and General Motors said it was suspending operations at 13 MI plants and a tech center.

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. Warren Tech Center employees are also taking the day off.

General Motors Co said late on Wednesday it will temporarily suspend operations at 11 MI plants and its Warren Tech Center after a utility made an emergency appeal to users to conserve natural gas during extreme winter cold.

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Only factories served by Jackson, Michigan-based Consumers Energy were affected.

"While DTE's plants are running well, our system is connected to energy grids in other states and Canada that are experiencing issues due to the extreme weather", Christy Wicke, executive director, Generation Optimization, said in a statement.

The company made the request for residents to lower their thermostats to 65 degrees last night, after discussing the situation with Governor Whitmer.

- Consumers Energy has announced that MI residents will be able to reset their heaters to previous levels after the emergency request to lower thermostats to 65 or lower. "We're doing this out of an abundance of caution given the extremely cold temperatures". Spartan Motors, which makes emergency and other large vehicles, suspended manufacturing in Charlotte, Michigan, near Lansing, idling about 800 workers.

Temperatures in the state early Thursday fell to their lowest levels of the week, with readings around negative 12 degrees (negative 24 degrees Celsius) in the Detroit area and at bitterly cold levels statewide. A root cause analysis to try and determine why the fire occurred has also been initiated. Consumers Energy officials say an automated system immediately shut down the supply of natural gas to the plant where the fire broke out, and by 3 p.m., all the remaining natural gas in the pipes in the plant had been vented and burned off.

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