Consumers Energy modernizes gas infrastructure in Oakland, Macomb counties

JACKSON–Officials at Consumers Energy announced that the Jackson-based utility has completed its upgrade to the South Oakland Macomb Network pipelines. The $164 million investment included replacing nearly 30 miles of vintage pipe and installing nearly 17 miles of new.

“The more quickly and safely we can provide natural gas to Michiganders, the better it is for our customers and the planet,” said Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy’s vice president of gas engineering and supply. “We are aware of how important it is we do everything we can to keep costs down to ensure families and businesses have the gas they need to stay safe and warm this winter. When we invest in improvements to our pipelines what we are truly investing in is our customers.”

A series of about 15 projects completed in late 2022, the South Oakland Macomb Network upgrades are part of a larger strategic commitment outlined in the company’s 10-year Natural Gas Delivery Plan.

The four-year process was structured in a way that mitigated significant community impact, ensuring the critical pipeline updates could be made without causing disruption to residential neighborhoods. The upgrades — which largely focused on replacing lines originally been installed in the 1940s and rebuilding city gates, where gas pressure is regulated for safe delivery — will benefit nearly 2 million Michigan homes and businesses.

The new infrastructure allows Consumers Energy to move a higher volume of natural gas throughout its system more quickly, safely and efficiently, reducing costs for customers while also being better for the planet. The completion of the upgrades, which were part of the company’s strategic commitment to modernizing and improving our natural gas system, better enables Consumers Energy to meet growing customer demand, even on peak days.

“This project truly embodied our commitment to people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity,” Dobbs said.

The project was also structured to create minimal impact on the environment, including a creative construction approach that reduced the need for tree removal, prevented erosion and protected wildlife.

Environmental inspectors with the company were on site daily. The workers prevented harm and ensured the use of a special pollinator mix on grounds where the pipeline was buried to create new habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinators during the restoration process.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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