Thank you, Michigan, for heeding the call

In the midst of last week’s historic arctic blast and heavy snowfall, a Wednesday fire at a Consumers Energy natural gas compressor station in Macomb County threw the state’s supply of that home-heating fuel into question.

Michiganders across the state were awoken by a screeching emergency alert on their television and/or their smartphones, with a call from the CEO of Consumers and from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, asking them to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees to help preserve the natural gas supply.

The record-breaking cold was already straining the system as furnaces across the Midwest huffed and puffed, trying to overcome the subzero wind chills freezing our homes. The downed compressor station only further weakened the system, and, according to the governor and utility officials, there was a chance Michiganders would lease heat all together unless we all pitched in by cooling our homes a few degrees.

We listened.

According to Consumers, the state’s largest natural gas provider, the collective sacrifice of we Michiganders cut natural gas usage by 10 percent that night, even as the cold continued to gnaw at our state.

The incident surely highlighted how truly fragile are the modern comforts we take for granted. We assume that, when we turn on the heat each winter, the gas will flow and our homes will warm. But it takes only a couple of incidents –an unusually deep freeze and a fire downstate –to throw those assumptions into question. We hope those in a position to do so are learning from last week to safeguard our system in the future.

But the incident also showed how we can make it through adversity when we all give a little.

We are proud of you, Michiganders. Thank you.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)