Consumers Energy will spend nearly $225m this year to upgrade its natural gas system throughout Lower Michigan.

"At Consumers Energy we know that safe, reliable delivery of natural gas is a top priority to our customers and our company. That is why we are committed to an ongoing program that will strengthen our natural gas system to benefit the over 1.7 million homes and businesses we serve throughout Lower Michigan," said Charles Crews, vice president of gas operations for Consumers Energy.

This year’s commitment includes infrastructure replacement projects across the state, upgrades to compressor and pressure regulation facilities, and upgrades to accommodate new business and residential customer growth. "We are working to increase safety and reliability from the time gas is received into our pipelines until it is delivered to customers," Crews said.

Infrastructure Enhancement and Replacement

A total of $75 million will be spent to complete 60 improvement projects and replace an additional 86 miles of pipe with plastic and steel, using nearly 500 dedicated Consumers Energy employees to perform this work. Projects include:

27 projects in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties

11 projects in Ingham, Jackson and Lenawee counties

11 projects in Barry, Eaton, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties

Six projects in Genesee, Lapeer and Shiawassee counties

Three projects in Bay and Saginaw counties

Two projects in Gratiot and Montcalm counties

Another major project being completed in 2016-17 is replacement of 3.5 miles of a pipeline serving the greater Lansing area with new steel main to improve gas deliverability and reliability.

Growing Economy

As the economy in Michigan continues to expand, Consumers Energy is making $31 million in necessary infrastructure expansion and upgrades to deliver safe, reliable gas service to over 10,000 expected new business customers.

An additional $35 million will be invested to add 146 miles of new gas distribution main in areas currently without natural gas, supporting over 2,000 new residential customers.

Consumers Energy will invest $17 million to augment its pipeline system, which includes a new $9 million natural gas compressor which is being built to increase reliability to customers in Huron and Tuscola counties. Natural gas compressors pressurize gas so it can be moved through pipelines. The compressor will be operational by September.

Civic Improvement Projects

Consumers Energy will spend $35 million in 2016 to replace gas infrastructure in conjunction with state, county and municipal roadway and civic improvement projects, including replacement of about 1,000 gas service lines leading to homes or businesses.

Pressure Regulation Facilities

To help ensure continued safe, reliable delivery of natural gas into and through Consumers Energy’s pipeline distribution system, $30 million will be invested in regulation facilities across the state, including rebuilding city gates in Laingsburg and Plymouth, as well as installing new equipment designed to enhance operations.