WATCH: Consumers Energy asks customers to continue reducing gas use

Company having issue with gas distribution network

Patti Poppe of Consumers Energy on Jan. 31, 2019. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Consumers Energy is asking customers to continue reducing natural gas use through 10 a.m. Friday due to an issue with the company's gas distribution network.

UPDATEConsumers Energy says residents can turn up thermostats at midnight Thursday

Consumers Energy first asked customers to reduce gas use at 9 p.m. Wednesday during a Facebook Live event. Company officials said an equipment fire at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station on Wednesday morning is affecting service.

  • Watch the Thursday news conference above.

"We are cautiously optimistic that our public requests to reduce gas use are having a positive effect," Consumers Energy officials said Thursday in a release.

Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy, said there's been a 10 percent reduction in demand after Wednesday night's appeal.

Poppe asked customers to set thermostats at 65 while at home and 62 while away from home.

"We greatly appreciate conservation efforts by all natural gas customers across Lower Michigan,” Poppe said. "Conservation, even by gas customers served by other energy providers than Consumers Energy, is making a difference with our distribution system."

READ: Michigan governor wants thermostats at 65 degrees during cold stretch

The company is asking for customers to continue conservation measures through the end of Friday due to the historically cold weather in Southeast Michigan.

Repairs are ongoing at the station in Ray Township, and it's partially in service, officials said. Conserving energy will allow temperatures to moderate while repairs are being made, Consumers Energy announced.

There were no injuries during the fire, and the cause is still under investigation, officials said.

Here is a statement from Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel:

"Yesterday there was an explosion at a Consumers Energy station in northern Macomb County. This situation had the potential for widespread service interruptions. I want to thank Governor Whitmer for her leadership during this incident and for her commitment to keep the public informed.

"I also want to commend Ford, General Motors and FCA for the sacrifice they made by shutting down production in facilities across our region. 

"I want to reiterate that the need to conserve natural gas is very real. To help, residents and businesses are being asked to turn down their thermostat to a recommended 65 degrees."

Here's a report from Local 4 News at Noon on Thursday:

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