Michigan ag steps up for emergency energy reduction

Michigan agricultural businesses answered the call by Consumers Energy this week to reduce natural gas consumption after a fire at a compressor station and frigid temperatures strained the system.

“Going forward, we’re confident that we’re still going to have a reliable supply of natural gas for farms across the state.”  

Brian Wheeler with Consumers tells Brownfield more than 100 high energy customers were asked to reduce consumption.

“It’s important that large businesses, and sometimes large agribusinesses in particular, can help out when we have rare circumstances like this because unlike a person’s home, a business might use as much as hundreds or even thousands of homes.  The fact that Michigan Sugar and some other large business could take some action to reduce their energy use really helped out everybody in our time of need.”     

Michigan Sugar says reductions were possible because processing was slowed at three factories, beet pulp driers were turned off and thermostats were lowered.

Wheeler says the system is now back to normal and the source of the fire is being investigated.  He says natural gas demand for winter so far is running behind last year and this week is not expected to cause supply concerns for agriculture.

AUDIO: Brownfield interview with Brian Wheeler

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