Jackson, Mich. Thursday, January 31, 2019
Company Expresses Gratitude for Unprecedented Assistance
Consumers Energy announced that its emergency public appeal to conserve natural gas is ending at midnight tonight for all customers – commercial, industrial and residential.
“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 Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and chief executive officer. “Because of the swift action of all, we were able to continue critical services – from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the men and women of Consumers Energy, we thank you,” she said.
Consumers Energy made its public appeal to conserve Wednesday, following a morning fire that damaged equipment at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. The fire reduced the amount of natural gas that could be delivered to customers from underground storage located at the compressor station. The site is a combination compression and storage field where Consumers Energy stores natural gas until it is needed by customers.
The damage to compressor equipment at Consumers Energy’s largest storage and delivery system, coupled with continued historically cold temperatures, prompted the company to ask customers to dial back their thermostats and conserve natural gas use in their homes.
Repairs at the Ray Compressor Station are ongoing, and one of the station’s three compressors is partially in service. A root cause analysis to try and determine why the fire occurred has also been initiated.
Consumers Energy greatly appreciates conservation efforts by all natural gas customers across Lower Michigan to assist with a supply issue on the company’s gas distribution network. Conservation, even by gas customers served by other utilities than Consumers Energy, is making a difference.
This morning, we are cautiously optimistic that our public requests to reduce gas use are having a positive effect.
However, with Thursday’s continued historically cold weather, we ask that conservation measures continue through the end of the day Friday, Feb. 1.
Repairs at our Ray Compressor Station are ongoing and the station is partially in service, providing natural gas to our distribution system. However, we are asking that all customers continue to conserve until the end of the day Friday, Feb. 1, to allow for temperatures to moderate and additional repairs to the Ray Station.
“As a result of an unexpected incident at a Gas Compressor station on Wednesday January 30 in Southeast Michigan, we are asking customers to temporarily reduce gas usage at this time while we continue to contain the incident and help keep Michigan residents warm during this cold spell,” said Garrick Rochow, Senior Vice President of Operations for Consumers Energy.
Consumers Energy today called for all customers to voluntarily reduce their gas usage as a result of an unexpected gas incident in Southeast Michigan.
A fire involving equipment at Consumers Energy’s Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station occurred in Macomb County at 10:33 a.m. Wednesday, January 30. The fire is being contained and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation. All gas flow from the compressor station has been shut in until safety and damage assessments can be completed. Consumers Energy is activating natural gas peaking storage fields in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas to our customers. Natural gas is stored underground and reserved in these fields, which are activated when energy demand requires it. In addition, the company has reached out to its largest business customers to reduce gas usage while we continue to investigate the incident.
Residents and businesses can reduce gas usage by doing the following:
For more information or tips, visit: www.consumersenergy.com/coldweather.
Do you have any estimate for how long it will take you to get back? How long will we ask people to keep heat down? How many customers are being affected?
What does the process look like? What was our reaction time?
Will it affect prices? How long can we sustain on reserves like this?
How did the company assess risk to the public when it first happened?
Is the fire out now?
Could it happen again soon?
What is the rationale for letting it continue to burn? What damage took place?
What happens if people don’t want to volunteer and reduce gas usage?
Why is Consumers Energy asking people to consume less energy?
How can people reduce gas usage on the coldest day of the year?
What else is Consumers Energy doing to get more gas for its customers?
When do you expect repairs to be made? Is DTE helping your utility out?