Fortunately, Joe Nadeau recognized a faint scent of rotten eggs while sitting on the steps of his piano teacher’s home waiting for his parents following a lesson.

His piano teacher called Consumers Energy and we sent two gas workers over to her Jackson home who identified and fixed two leaks in her home.

“I knew it could be only one thing – gas,” said Joe, whose father, Stephen, is our manager of natural gas used in electric generation. “My dad warned me about that smell many times and we also had Consumers Energy workers come to my school last spring to talk about the dangers of gas.”

Early lessons pay dividends

Judy Carr-Dirlam, Joe’s piano teacher, is thankful for her pupil’s persistence.

“I didn’t think much about it at first,” Carr-Dirlam said. “But then I was thinking about the headaches my husband had been having. We are really lucky that Joe spoke up. His sniffer saved us from some real problems down the road.

“I told my husband ‘I guess Joe was our little angel, looking out for us,’” she said. “He’s a really smart kid with a bright future. I’m glad he’s in our life. Who knows what would’ve happened if he weren’t. He’s a real blessing.”

Safety awareness runs in the family

Stephen Nadeau said he taught his children, including Joe, to take a proactive approach to safety.

Joe’s grandmother, Deana, also worked at Consumers Energy for 14 years.

“Our safety culture at Consumers Energy is all about doing what it takes to keep our co-workers and the public safe,” Stephen Nadeau said. “I taught my children at a young age to look out for the signs that there could be danger. I am really proud of Joe for being alert to an unsafe situation and being adamant that something was wrong.”

Michelle Nadeau, Joe’s mother, wasn’t surprised her son saved the day.

“Safety first is always something we practice at home,” she said. “Steve has made sure of that. Safety is something that will always be part of our home.”

Joe is glad his father emphasizes safety at home.

“His co-workers look out for him,” said the younger Nadeau. “I want my dad to come home safe from work every day. He has more to teach me.”

Our 24/7 safety mentality is paying off.

“I am proud that our safety culture has extended from work to home and on to helping save other people as well,” the elder Nadeau said. “It’s great to work for a company that cares about us and our families.”

If you smell natural gas, get to safety immediately. Then call 911 and contact us at 800-477-5050. For more information on the natural gas and other safety topics visit