News Release

HEAT WAVE PUSHES CUSTOMER DEMAND TOWARD RECORD LEVELS; CONSUMERS ENERGY AND OTHER MIDWEST UTILITIES ASK CUSTOMERS FOR IMMEDIATE POWER CONSERVATION

Jackson, Mich. Thursday, July 21, 2011

The heat wave is pushing customer demand for electricity toward record levels in the Midwest, prompting the region’s power coordinator to issue an energy conservation alert through tonight.

Consumers Energy and other Midwest utilities are asking customers to take immediate steps to reduce their use of electricity to help maintain the stability of the electric system.

The region’s electric power coordinator, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), issued the energy conservation alert today because of high customer demand – linked to air conditioning use – and restricted power supplies. MISO is the power coordinator for 12 Midwest states, including Michigan, and the province of Manitoba.

Consumers Energy asks customers to take the following steps:

  • Raise the temperature setting on air conditioning thermostats by several degrees.  A setting of 78 degrees provides comfort and energy efficiency.
     
  • Use the clothes washer, clothes dryer, dishwasher, electric oven, and any other high-consumption electric appliances early in the morning or after 8 p.m.

  • Open the refrigerator or freezer as little as possible.

  • Turn off all unnecessary lights and non-essential appliances during the day.

  • Close off air ducts to rooms which are not used.  Close window curtains and drapes to reduce solar heating.

  • If you have a well pump, don’t water lawns.

Additional tips on reducing electricity use are available at the “Heat Alert” banner on the Consumers Energy website:  www.consumersenergy.com.  

John Russell, the president and chief executive officer of Consumers Energy, said the heat wave underscores the post-recession growth in power use by residential and business customers.

“We’re moving toward an all-time record for customer electric use in our company’s 125-year history.  While today is particularly challenging, our employees work hard every day to provide our customers with reliable electric service,” he said.  “We focus on making the substantial investments needed to maintain a reliable electric system day in and day out for our customers and having a system that’s able to meet sharp increases in electricity demand from customers on days like this.”

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
 

Media Contacts:   Jeff Holyfield, 517/788-2394, Dan Bishop, 517/788-2395, Tim Pietryga, 616/530-4364, or Terry DeDoes, 517/374-2159

 


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