The utility asked customers Wednesday afternoon to lower the thermostat settings and the response has already yielded results, Consumers executives said.
With temperatures well below zero and wind chills 40 degrees below zero in some areas, Consumers was seeing historic gas flow rates at its facilities this morning. They weren’t at the utility’s maximum capacity, though, Consumers Vice President
Consumers has three plants at the
The utility is tapping into its storage fields and asking business and residential customers to reduce their natural gas use.
Consumers has reached out to more than a dozen of its largest commercial customers, asking for a voluntary reduction in usage for the next day or two.
It’s asking the same of residential customers, recommending bumping thermostats down to 65, or 62 degrees when out of the house.
All state-owned facilities in the
Consumers has 15 storage fields with 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage, Rochow said.
“There’s not only a large supply to meet our customers’ needs for the entire winter, but there’s the ability to pull even more gas into state through the pipeline system,” Rochow said. “So there is no risk from a long-term reserve perspective.”
The utility has 1.8 million business and residential natural gas customers.
While the cold weather is likely to cause a rise in customers’ bills, Wednesday’s fire won’t affect the rate per unit. Rates are set by the MPSC once each year.
“There shouldn’t be any immediate impact (financially for customers) associated with this incident,” Rochow said.
It’s too soon to know the cause of the fire, officials said, but a full investigation is in progress to prevent a similar situation in the future.
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