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Late-night emergency text from state calls for lowering thermostats

Chris Rizk and Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Michigan utility company found an attention-grabbing, if now loud, method to urge customers to limit gas usage following a fire Wednesday at a critical facility in Macomb County.

The state issued a Wireless Emergency Alert, broadcasting an urgent message late Wednesday to cellphones calling for Consumers Energy customers across Michigan to cut natural gas usage.

The state issued a Wireless Emergency Alert, broadcasting an urgent message late Wednesday to cellphones calling for Consumers Energy customers across Michigan to cut natural gas usage.

A portion of the utility's Armada Township facility remained offline after a fire earlier in the day, and its ability to deliver natural gas to its 1.8 million customers was compromised, the company said.

Throughout Wednesday, Consumers was in touch with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office, which supported issuing the alert, CEO Patti Poppe said. "We’re very thankful that communication method was available."

More:Late-night appeals flood consumers: Use less gas after utility fire

More:Consumers CEO warns of brief shutoffs if thermostats don't drop

More:Arctic cold that killed 2 to linger in state

The alert was similar to electronic devices across the United States sounding off last fall as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted its first-ever national wireless emergency alert test.