Consumers Energy Commits Nearly $200 Million Toward Natural Gas Line Safety, Reliability; Creates Michigan Jobs

May 26, 2015, 06:00 ET from Consumers Energy

JACKSON, Mich., May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is committing nearly $200 million this year to upgrade its natural gas system throughout Michigan, and has increased its workforce to help perform this work.

"Providing reliable, safe natural gas service is the most important priority for Consumers Energy, and we know it is important to those we serve," said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy's vice president of energy delivery. "This year our expanded employee team will upgrade over 88 miles of infrastructure as part of an ongoing program to enhance natural gas safety and reliability for over 1.7 million natural gas homes and businesses throughout the Lower Peninsula."

Palkovich noted that Consumers Energy has hired almost 600 new employees since 2012. This team of employees is dedicated to gas main installation projects and service requests, allowing the company to respond more quickly to increased requests in all sectors: residential, municipal, commercial and industrial. "We are proud that these efforts involve putting more Michiganders to work, and welcome these new employees who bring the skills and experience to perform this work," Palkovich said.

This year's gas system projects will upgrade portions of Consumers Energy's 27,000 miles of distribution and transmission gas pipelines. The company's $71 million enhanced infrastructure program includes 52 projects to replace and upgrade 88 miles of pipeline on its natural gas distribution system.

Key enhancement projects for 2015 include:

  • 19 projects in cities in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Livingston counties
  • Eight projects in Genesee and Shiawassee counties (Flint and Vernon)
  • Eight projects in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties (Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, Hartford, Bangor)
  • Five projects in Ingham County (Lansing)
  • Three projects in Bay and Saginaw counties (Saginaw, Bay City)
  • Three projects in Gratiot County (Alma, Ithaca)
  • Two projects in Lenawee County (Tecumseh)
  • Two projects in Barry County (Hastings)
  • Two projects in Osceola County (Marion)

These projects are in addition to $128 million that Consumers Energy will spend this year to expand and enhance other areas of its statewide natural gas system:

  • $39 million to replace or move natural gas lines and related infrastructure due to civic improvement projects such as road and sewer work
  • $25 million to accommodate new business growth
  • $33 million to add more than 2,500 new customers to its natural gas system, who are switching from another heating fuel, such as propane
  • $17 million to upgrade and augment service to existing customers in targeted areas
  • $14 million to upgrade regulator stations that are part of the company's gas distribution system.  

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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This news release contains "forward-looking statements." The forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause Consumers Energy's results to differ materially. All forward-looking statements should be considered in the context of the risk and other factors detailed from time to time in Consumers Energy's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. 

SOURCE Consumers Energy