August 21, 2019

DTE gas customers, PIE&G customers not affected by Consumers natural gas conservation alert

Consumers says customers can stop conserving at midnight Feb. 1


NORTHERN MICHIGAN — Despite the call from Consumers Energy asking it’s customers to reduce natural gas consumption, DTE is saying it is unaffected by the issue.

DTE Manager of Public Communication Jill Wilmot said the company is not making an official call to action of its customers.

“We are not putting out an official ask out there,” Wilmot said. “But we are generally always suggesting customers reduce their consumption, as it helps with their bills.”

Consumers Energy’s call to action was originally sent out Jan. 30, asking all users of Natural Gas in Michigan’s lower peninsula to dial back their thermostats in order to ensure there is not a shortage during the abnormally frigid temperatures seen in recent days. This came after an explosion and fire occurred at the Consumers Energy Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Armada Township.

Consumers Energy Media Representative Debra Dodd said the issue was not that there was a shortage of gas, but more that Consumers is having a difficult time getting that gas to its customers.

Wilmot said DTE is not feeling the strain that Consumers mentioned.

“Even with Consumers issue, we are not having any trouble getting natural gas to our customers,” she said.

Presque Isle Electric and Gas Co-op Media Representative Mairè Chagnon-Hazelman assured its customers that the Co-op is also unaffected by the Consumers Energy situation, but echoed the statement by DTE.

“Although PIE&G does not have concerns at this time with its natural gas supply, the Co-op does recommend, to the extent possible, voluntary conservation by its members,” she said in a press release.

Dodd said this is the first time she’s seen a situation like this throughout her entire career.

“It is truly an extraordinary occurrence,” she said. “I’ve worked for the company in the gas department for 30 years and I’ve never seen something like this. It’s unprecedented.”

Consumers asked its gas customers to lower their thermostats to 65 degrees when they are home, and 62 degrees when they are not. They also called on manufacturers to lower their thermostats, or shut down completely if possible. The Michigan State Police also sent out a call to action, asking residents to lower their thermostats by at least five degrees.

According to Dodd after 11:59 p.m. Jan. 31 residents should be able to return to normal gas usage rates. Dodd said Consumers was not taking the decision to ask residents to ration lightly.

“The president of our company said this was absolutely essential,” Dodd said. “Even the big three manufacturers heeded our call and either lowered consumption or closed for the day.”

Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe said after the first 24 hours conservation efforts have been making a difference.

“There is no doubt the gas reduction efforts by residents and businesses across the Lower Peninsula played a key role in helping maintain natural gas flow in our distribution system at a time when it was critically needed,” said Poppe. “Because of the swift action of all, we were able to continue critical services.”


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