RACINE, WI — We Energies is asking its customers to immediately lower their thermostats to 60 to 62 degrees.
The utility hopes to stave off a significant natural gas outage at a time when the National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook.
An interstate supplier “experienced a significant equipment failure that is limiting the amount of fuel they are sending We Energies,” according to a press release by We Energies.
The pipeline is among several sources of the utility uses. We Energies serve more than 1.1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph, frigid wind chills of 20 to 35 below zero and snow showers are expected to continue until 9 am Saturday.
“On a typical day, an issue like this would not require customers to reduce their usage. However, with extreme cold setting in over much of the United States, We Energies is unable to receive additional natural gas from its other pipeline suppliers,” the press release reads.
The utility has already taken steps to reduce demand, including drawing from its liquefied natural gas and propane storage facilities and reducing natural gas to business customers who have agreed to special billing in these types of events.
Avoid using other natural gas appliances like fireplaces, dryers or ovens.
The company is working to maintain service to emergency and critical facilities.
According to We Energies, customers should take the following actions to help reduce natural gas demand:
- Set thermostats between 60 to 62 degrees. Add layers or blankets to keep warm when lowering a thermostat’s temperature.
- Close blinds or drapes at night and avoid opening doors to retain heat. Open blinds during the day to let in heat from the sun.
- Avoid using secondary natural gas heating sources, such as natural gas fireplaces.
- Use natural gas ranges sparingly. Prepare food with slow cookers or microwaves.
The shortage is expected to last throughout the rest of Friday, and the company plans to reassess the situation on Saturday.