Trail Street Lab’s origins go back to a time when Model Ts were the mode of getting around and top hats and business suits were the choice of dress.  

Consumers Power initially built the Jackson, MI lab in 1910 to perform chemical tests on coal used by our generating plants.  

As the years went by, services expanded to include a full suite of chemical analysis, metallurgical, calibration, non-destructive testing, regulatory testing of emissions, and project quality for both the utility and business clients across the country. 

For the lab’s co-workers today, this work is done in service of one common goal – power reliability.

“When it comes to reliability, we are committed to making sure the power stays on for our customers by preventing outages,” said Brian Miles, director of Laboratory Services. “Our customers and clients count on us to get it right 100 percent of the time. We accept that challenge every day we report to work at the lab.” 

The lab is also instrumental in helping us implement our Reliability Roadmap, an ambitious plan for a smarter and stronger electric grid. Lab Services has seen a 50 percent increase in reliability work. The proposal includes more buried power lines, infrastructure upgrades and grid automation efforts to reduce the number and length of customer power outages all while supporting union jobs across our service territory. 

The lab’s work includes oil sampling and analysis for our transformers to ensure they are up to our safety and reliability standards. This preventative maintenance helps decrease the amplification of future problems, leading to outage prevention.  

Other reliability work includes: 

  • Calibration and repair of Phase and Fault Detectors 
  • Troubleshooting and repair of Portable and van Thumper units 
  • Failure analysis of various components from the distributions system 
  • Annual structural and dielectric integrity tests of all company bucket trucks 

“We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for Consumers Energy’s reliability needs as well as more than 125 other clients around the country,” Miles said. “We have dedicated and hard-working employees who have walked through that door and continue to be innovative. The lab is as relevant today in helping us with our Reliability Roadmap as ever.” 

To learn more about Consumers Energy Laboratory Services, visit