While you were enjoying the spring and summer months in Michigan, our crews have been working hard to make improvements and upgrades to your natural gas service so we’re ready for the winter. And we will keep working as long as frost laws – or seasonal weight restrictions – allow. The weight restrictions usually begin in March or April to keep heavy trucks and machinery off the roads as the ground begins to thaw.
With 30,000 miles of natural gas service, we are working year-round to ensure the safety and reliability of our service. If you’ve seen us in your neighborhood this summer, it’s probably part of our Enhanced Infrastructure Replacement Program (EIRP) – a 25-year project that began in 2012. Learn more here: Hey, Consumers Energy! Why are you tearing up my street? | Force4Michigan
And there are many upgrades coming. As part of our Natural Gas Delivery Plan, a 10-year, $11 billion blueprint that includes upgrading transmission infrastructure, transforming compression and storage operations and replacing aging distribution pipes, we are making our system more reliable while protecting the environment by reducing emissions of methane. Major components of our plan include:
- Reliability: Investing $1 billion annually to modernize the system — a commitment we plan to continue in the coming decade. The upgrades we’re completing to our natural gas transmission, distribution and storage system are creating hundreds of construction jobs each year.
- Affordability: We continue to shield customers from price volatility of the market with the nation’s largest underground storage system, which allows us to?buy?large amounts of natural gas when it’s cheapest and pass those savings along to customers during the winter when demand is highest. This year, we also committed nearly $12 million in new assistance to help Michiganders stay safe and warm in their homes, including $3.5 million for a pilot program for vulnerable households. People who are struggling with energy bills should call 2-1-1, a free service that connects people with nonprofit agencies in communities across the state.
- Clean Energy Transformation: We are committed to leading Michigan’s decarbonization efforts as the role of natural gas evolves in the coming years. We will do this by investing in our natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability and continue reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and exploring the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) and other emerging technologies to help our customers and suppliers reduce their emissions. Additionally, we’re looking beyond our own operations to help customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas sources.
We’re one of the nation’s largest natural gas distribution companies. It takes the expertise and dedication of 2,000 team members to help deliver natural gas across Michigan. You think that number is big, check out some other big numbers involved in our natural gas operations!
Winter is coming, but rest assured our team has been working year-round to make sure you get the natural gas you need, when you need it this heating season. You can learn more about upcoming natural gas pipelines projects here: Natural Gas Pipeline Projects | Consumers Energy.