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People in Michigan and other Midwest states asked to reduce electricity use due to cold

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Update: Thursday, January 31, 5:09 p.m.

Consumers Energy says residential customers can turn their thermostats back up after midnight on Thursday. The utility requests that people keep their thermostats at 65 degrees or below until midnight.

Original post: Thursday January 31, 7:20 a.m.  

Frigid temperatures across the Midwest are putting stress on the electric grid for Michigan and part or all of 14 other states.

MISO - the group which runs the electric grid for the region - declared a "maximum generation event" Wednesday.

That means electric demand is very high, so utilities are being asked to take a number of steps to conserve electricity - including urging customers to reduce their electricity usage.

Listen above to hear Tracy Samilton explain why Michigan utilities asked the public to turn down their heat during a record-breaking cold spell in the Midwest. 

That accounts for DTE Energy's request to customers Wednesday to turn down the thermostat, turn off unnecessary lights, avoid using appliances like washers, dryers, ovens, dishwashers, and humidifiers, and make sure windows and doors are sealed.

Christy Wicke, executive director, Generation Optimization, DTE Energy, says, “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. Because of this, we are asking for your support to ensure everyone can stay warm.”

Editor's note: DTE Energy is one of Michigan Radio's corporate sponsors.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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