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Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Residents are trying to stop a Michigan energy company from building a massive gas plant in Rives Township, a rural area north of Jackson known for its horse farms.

Residents packed a planning commission meeting on Monday. They asked the commission to immediately recommend zoning ordinance changes to the township board to keep Novi Energy from building a 1,800 MW plant.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: Thursday, January 31, 5:09 p.m.

Consumers Energy says residential customers can turn their thermostats back up after midnight on Thursday. The utility requests that people keep their thermostats at 65 degrees or below until midnight.

Original post: Thursday January 31, 7:20 a.m.  

Frigid temperatures across the Midwest are putting stress on the electric grid for Michigan and part or all of 14 other states.

MISO - the group which runs the electric grid for the region - declared a "maximum generation event" Wednesday.

That means electric demand is very high, so utilities are being asked to take a number of steps to conserve electricity - including urging customers to reduce their electricity usage.

Mark Savage / Entergy

This month the state should get some more information about the expected closure of the Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven.

The Michigan Public Service Commission sent a letter to Consumers Energy last month with a laundry list of questions about the planned closure.

Cobb power plant in Muskegon, which shut down in April 2016
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Michigan and its Midwest electric grid operator, MISO, believe they've come up with a solution to a potential shortage of electricity that could happen as early as 2018.

That's the year yet another power plant in the grid will shut down (this time in Indiana); Michigan's Consumers Energy shut down six smaller power plants in April. 

The shutdowns mean there might not be enough electricity generation capacity during times of peak demand.

We Energies

Michigan is asking its electric grid – known as MISO – to study ways to make electricity more reliable in the U.P.

MISO manages electric transmission in 15 U.S. states, including Michigan, and the Canadian province of Manitoba.  

State energy officials have asked MISO to study the benefit of connecting the U.P. to Ontario's grid, and improving the U.P.'s  connections to the Lower Peninsula. 

Judy Palnau, spokeswoman for the Michigan Public Service Commission, says that could improve reliability and reduce costs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials are asking Michigan utilities to be ready in case there are any problems with getting enough electricity to consumers today.  

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, issued a reliability alert in Michigan after a fire at a DTE power plant overnight.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan could face an electricity shortage in the next few years.

New federal regulations are forcing many coal-fired power plants to shut down in 2016.  That will leave utilities with less capacity to generate electricity. The loss will be most noticeable on hot summer days, when demand for electricity soars in Michigan.