Consumers Energy Announces Major New Investment in Natural Gas System

Consumers Energy received approval today on a $170 million investment to modernize Michigan’s natural gas system, making it even more safe, clean, reliable and affordable for customers.

The investments are part of the company’s 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.

“This investment directly supports a modern natural gas system by replacing pipes dating to the 1940s to ensure safe delivery of our customers need to heat their homes and businesses,” said Chris Fultz, Consumers Energy’s vice president of gas operations. “A more reliable system keeps homes cozy in the winter, and puts warm, home cooked meals on the table for Michigan families. These critical upgrades will also help protect the environment by reducing emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.”

Major components of Consumers Energy’s plan include:

  • Reliability: Through our Natural Gas Delivery Plan, Consumers Energy is 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, Consumers Energy also has 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: Consumers Energy is committed to leading Michigan’s decarbonization efforts as the role of natural gas evolves in the coming years such as 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.

“While prices are increasing due to a variety of global economic factors, Consumers Energy is working to minimize the impact for our customers and Michigan,” added Fultz. “We are here for customers with energy efficiency and customer assistance programs to ensure all customers have the energy they need this winter.”

Natural gas rates for Consumers Energy customers have not changed since October 2020. With today’s ruling, changes to customer bills will take effect in October 2022. In a 12-month period through March 2022, the price Consumers Energy residential customers paid for natural gas was 23% less than the national average.