Polar vortex shuts down 11 GM auto plants in MI

Polar vortex shuts down 11 GM auto plants in MI

Polar vortex shuts down 11 GM auto plants in MI

It's unclear when they will resume regular operations.

"We don't know when we're going to be able to return to normal operations", said Consumers spokesman Roger Morgenstern.

Consumers Energy sent an alert to mobile phones in MI asking residents to reduce natural gas use.

Utility companies in MI asked customers to turn down their thermostats as low as they could stand Wednesday to prevent possible heat outages - as temperatures dropped to minus-12 degrees overnight.

Fiat Chrysler Ford Motor Co. also cut natural gas use and interrupted production schedules, AN reported. The facility provides 64 percent of Consumers' natural gas supply.

The utility reportedly ran into supply issues due to the record-breaking frigid winter temperatures as well as a fire at a compressor station in Macomb County. "All employees should plan to return to their work sites on Monday morning, February 4".

Employees working in office environments affected by the natural gas issue such as the Global Technical Center in Warren, Pontiac Engineering Center and CCA-Grand Blanc should continue to work from home Friday. Auto plants and other big energy users throughout MI are joining residential customers in cutting back. Workers will get paid even though their buildings were closed. CEO Patti Poppe told Detroit News "localized planned curtailments" would be needed if energy isn't reduced enough.

Consumers Energy says in a statement that it's "cautiously optimistic" Thursday morning that its requests to curb natural gas use "are having a positive effect".

After that - Consumers Energy and then Governor Whitmer called on people in MI to cut back on their natural gas usage.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also appeared in a video online Wednesday night and said the request to lower thermostats was for those in the Lower Peninsula.

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.

Due to an explosion at a compressor station in Macomb City, Consumers Energy sent an emergency alert to customers asking them to turn down their heat.

There were no injuries at the facility where the fire occurred and the cause remains under investigation. The company said all gas flow from the station was shut off, and that it activated natural gas peaking storage fields to help meet demand for gas to heat homes and businesses.

Utility DTE Energy is also asking consumers to use less energy to ensure grid reliability.

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