Energy & Environment

Utility companies asking Midwest customers to lower thermostats due to record cold temperatures 

Utility companies are asking their customers in the Midwest battling record-breaking cold temperatures to keep their thermostats low in an attempt to conserve energy.

{mosads}Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) urged the state’s residents to keep their thermostats at or below 65 degrees through Friday, according to NPR.

“I’m coming to you now to ask for your help,” Whitmer said in a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday. “Due to extremely high demand for natural gas with these record low temperatures and a facility incident, Consumers Energy has asked that everyone who is able to turn down their thermostats through Friday at noon so we can all get through this with minimal harm.”

As Whitmer alluded, Consumers Energy company in Michigan, which serves 1.8 million residents, experienced a fire at natural gas compressor station that was caused by record breaking demand due to the cold temperatures.

“This truly is an unprecedented crisis,” Consumer Energy CEO Patti Poppe said in a Facebook Live video. “We have never been in this situation before.”

She added in a statement Thursday that the conservation efforts were “making a difference.”

“However, with Thursday’s continued historically cold weather, we ask that conservation measures continue through the end of the day Friday, Feb. 1,” the statement read.

In Minnesota, Xcel Energy also asked its customers to keep its heat at or below 63 degrees through Thursday morning.

The polar vortex hitting much of the Midwest has resulted in the deaths of at least 8 people as of Thursday due to temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero and win chills of negative 50.

The frigid temperatures are expected to rise in the upcoming days.

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