Bitter cold, natural gas shortages, shutter auto plants

Bitter cold, natural gas shortages, shutter auto plants
Fire comes out of the top of two silo-looking structures at the compressor station at Consumers Energy in Armada Township, Mich. Consumers Energy has called on customers to voluntarily reduce their natural gas usage following a fire at a suburban Detroit gas compressor station amid bitterly cold weather. The Jackson-based utility says no one was injured in the fire Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County. The cause of the fire was under investigation. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP)

DETROIT (AP) — Auto plants and other big energy users throughout Southeast Michigan are shutting down or limiting operations with high demand, and also a fire, creating natural gas shortages.

Eighteen factories and other facilities run by General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are affected Thursday. It’s not clear when they’ll resume normal operations.

The fire hit a Consumers Energy natural gas compressor station north of Detroit on Wednesday as record-cold temperatures swept over the region.

The utility says all gas flow from the station was shut off, putting Michigan residents at risk of brief service interruptions with wind chills below zero.

The affected plants are in the Detroit area as well as Lansing, Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Facilities served by the region’s other utility, DTE Energy, are not affected.