Michigan Gov. Whitmer addresses public health, safety during cold weather


Part of that plant has been restored and Consumers Energy was able to get some additional supplies from interstate pipelines. Fiat Chrysler canceled first shifts production at its Warren and Sterling Heights plants. It's not clear when they'll resume normal operations.

Midwestern states are experiencing natural gas shortages amid subzero temperatures, including in MI, where GM shuttered more than a dozen plants and told thousands of employees to work from home.

Eighteen factories and other facilities run by General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are affected Thursday.

Consumers Energy, the state's largest natural gas provider, said gas flow from the compressor station had to be shut off, leaving MI residents at risk of brief service interruptions in subzero temperatures.

Editor's note: Both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are corporate sponsors of Michigan Radio.

Cell phones chimed with an emergency alert around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, with a message from Consumers Energy: "Due to extreme temps, Consumers asks everyone to lower their heat to 65 or less through Friday".

"While DTE's plants are running well, our system is connected to energy grids in other states and Canada that are experiencing issues due to the extreme weather", Christy Wicke, executive director, Generation Optimization, said in a statement.

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- Consider lowing thermostats to 65 degrees when people are home and 62 degrees when nobody is home.

"We plan for these extreme conditions - we had enough gas available", she said.

"Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties", according to the press release.

The economic impact of the shutdowns is likely to be small.

Temperatures in the state early Thursday fell to their lowest levels of the week, with readings around negative 12 degrees (negative 24 degrees Celsius) in the Detroit area and at bitterly cold levels statewide. And Consumers Energy asked its largest business customers, such as automakers, to reduce natural gas usage. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

The company says they are activating natural gas storage fields in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas to the customers.