Cold Triggers Wireless Emergency Alert System in Michigan


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Consumers Energy’s late-night Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) plea for users to turn down their thermostats, reducing peak demands for natural gas, and preventing possible shut offs during the recent cold front, worked. It was the first time WEA was used for this purpose, state officials said.

“We had a 10 percent reduction on the system and that was a game-changer for us overnight,” said Consumers Energy President/CEO Patti Poppe. “No residential gas customers lost service as a result of this.”

The Detroit Free Press reported that cold temperatures pushed the natural gas demand much higher than normal — from 2.5 billion cubic feet of gas to 3.3 billion — and the company determined that it would rise even more. That’s when they contacted the governor’s office about issuing the wireless emergency alert.  

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the WEA system Wednesday night. WEA messages sounded on cell phones and mobile devices across the state, even to those users who are not Consumers Energy customers. The message read: “Due to extreme temps Consumers asks everyone to lower their heat to 65 or less through Fri,” reported

Poppe said that the company had plenty of gas available to supply its roughly 1.8 million customers during the record cold snap, but distributing it became a problem after a fire at the Ray Township facility, hence the need for the usage cutback and the emergency alert.  Comments? Email Us.

February 4, 2019   

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