JACKSON — New home construction in Michigan continues to rebound, leading the Jackson-based utility Consumers Energy to add to its workforce to keep pace with rising demand for new energy service connections.
“We’ve hired 200 new employees to support the new building sector, which can have a significant impact on the entire state’s economy,” said Mary Palkovich, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy delivery. “We’ve shortened our turnaround time for new service orders and increased the amount of timely communicating we do with home builders.”
Consumers says it’s working closely with the Home Builders Association of Michigan to make improvements that benefit busy construction companies. Those companies are projected to build nearly 16,000 new Michigan homes this year, the most since 2007.
HBAM, local associations and Consumers Energy held five summits this year across Michigan to let home builders know about new improvements.
Consumers Energy has hired engineers to design new energy services, and job schedulers and field crews who install new gas and electric services. Higher volume builders are assigned a dedicated contact by the company. The HBA Michigan will also share data about projected home construction activity with Consumers Energy to help determine what resources are needed to support home builders in future years.
While new home construction is on pace for its best year since 2007, it’s still well below its levels early in the last decade. There were 45,881 new homes built in Michgian in 2004, 38,875 in 2005 and 24,782 in 2006. Then the Great Recession really set in, with 15,195 new homes built in 2007, just 8,984 in 2008 and the modern low of 6,236 in 2009. Numbers then started turning around — 7,755 in 2010, 7,937 in 2011, 10,234 in 2012 and 12,915 in 2013. The projected figure for 2014 is 15,900.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
More at www.ConsumersEnergy.com.