Consumers Energy opens natural gas training center, warns customers of scams

JACKSON–Consumers Energy leaders and employees were joined earlier this week by Michigan State Utility Workers Council members and officials from the city of Flint to celebrate the opening of Flint Gas City, an immersive training center for hundreds of Consumers Energy employees who build and operate natural gas infrastructure in the state.

“We are committed to building the workforce of the future to ensure we safely and reliably deliver natural gas to our customers, and this world-class facility is a tangible representation of that commitment,” said LeeRoy Wells Jr., senior vice president of operations for Consumers Energy. “We are deeply grateful for our partnerships with the MSUWC and the city of Flint to bring this project to fruition and look forward to seeing the impact it will have and the workforce it will grow for years to come.”

Consumers Energy and MSUWC partnered to develop the $10.1 million center. As with Consumers Energy’s Marshall Training Facility for lineworkers, Flint Gas City will immerse trainees in the environments, equipment and scenarios that natural gas workers encounter on the job. After nearly two years of construction and development, the ceremony Wednesday marked the formal opening of the site, which is expected to train hundreds of natural gas workers every year, in addition to emergency first responders.

“Flint Gas City is a great example of how the partnership between Consumers Energy and the Utility Workers Union is working to provide safe, best in class training to all of our members who keep the public safe and provide exceptional service to our customers,” said Craig Wright, president of the Michigan State Utility Workers Council. “This state-of-the-art training center, along with our process of utilizing qualified Union employees, will provide for a great training opportunity.”

The first-of-its-kind site enables natural gas workers to receive training and manage practice scenarios in a real-world setting. The company provides natural gas to 1.8 million customers across Michigan, and is carrying out a 10-year, $11 billion plan to ensure delivery is more safe, reliable, affordable and clean than ever before.

“At Consumers Energy safety for our customers and our employees is one of our top priorities, and the training we’re able to provide with this facility will help ensure we’re able to continue delivering on that goal,” said Josh Sturgis, one of the instructors at Flint Gas City. “Allowing our workers to learn about and practice the work they will encounter on the job in a controlled but real environment ensures they are prepared for multiple scenarios at a job site before they’re out in the field. That kind of training is critical to ensure they can keep themselves, their coworkers and our customers safe.”

Consumers warns of new online scams

Consumers officials also warned customers to be aware of online scammers who aim to trick people into calling bogus phone numbers and obtain access to credit cards, bank accounts or other personal information. The company has also shared information about these scam attempts with state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Officials said some customers have inadvertently contacted scammers after going online to search for the company’s phone number. Some online searches have led people to call criminals who pretend to be with the company. The scammers request payment for services like starting new accounts, which usually don’t require a deposit, or tell the caller they have an outstanding balance that they need to pay immediately.

If you have made a payment and think you were the victim of a scam, call 800-477-5050, and Consumers Energy will collect details. If you did not make a payment, file a police report with local law enforcement.

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