Pipeline Upgrade

Replacing Natural Gas Pipelines Across Michigan

In order to improve the safety and reliability of our natural gas system, we’re investing nearly $2 billion to replace 2,600 miles of natural gas pipelines. The Enhanced Infrastructure Replacement Program (EIRP) is a 25-year project that began in 2012.

  • We’re replacing aging parts of our natural gas system with more durable pipes.
  • We are replacing vintage pipe to enhance the safe, reliable delivery of natural gas to our customers.
  • To ensure minimal customer property disruption, we’re using underground directional drilling in 90% of pipe replacements rather than open-trenching methods.
We’re delivering more than 60 natural gas improvement projects in 17 Michigan counties in 2018.

This effort is part of our larger commitment to our natural gas customers. We’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade our natural gas infrastructure to benefit the more than 1.8 million homes and businesses we serve throughout Lower Michigan.
  • We are replacing 2,600 miles of aging natural gas pipeline over a 25-year period. Work started in 2012.
  • A Consumers Energy employee navigates directional drill equipment with electronic locator and radio communications to his partner.
  • In order to keep disruption to a minimum, we have relied heavily on directional drilling to replace pipe.
  • Listening for communications from his partner, a Consumers Energy employee positions the drill. Once there, the gas pipeline will be pulled back through the pilot hole, a technique that greatly reduces disruption to the property.
  • Guiding a new gas service line into the ground.
  • Backfilling a hole at the base of a gas meter after installing a new service to the home. This prepares the customer property for final restoration, which will include lawn and landscape repairs.
  • Prior to beginning a project, customers in the communities we service are contacted at least twice through letters and postcards informing them when we will be updating natural gas pipelines in their neighborhood. We also outline what they can expect while upgrades are being performed.


Targeted EIRP Areas in 2018

  • Lansing
  • Kalamazoo
  • Jackson
  • Owosso
  • Swartz Creek
  • Flint
  • Waterford
  • Flushing
  • Burton
  • Macomb Township
  • Livonia
  • Warren
  • Rochester Hills
  • Shelby Township
Learn more about upcoming, present and past reliability projects in your area below.

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Putting Michigan to Work

Our EIRP team is comprised of about 700 people from Michigan. Veterans are also an important part of our team – we’ve added 87 in the last two years alone.

Caring for Our Environment

We are committed to having a minimal impact on the environment with this effort. In 2017, our Gas Construction group saved nearly 6 million gallons of water using sustainable construction practices, and is on track to top that total in 2018 with a goal of saving 6.6 million gallons of water.

We will continue working with federal, state and local agencies to ensure environmental regulations are observed and followed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the pipeline upgrade below.

Q: How do I mark my sprinklers when I don’t know where they are?
A: Most hardware stores sell small flags (white, pink, bright green, etc.) or lath stakes that you can use to mark the location of your sprinkler heads and lines. If you are unable to locate your sprinkler system, we will do our best to avoid damage and repair to working order issues that are the result of construction.

Q: What is the green paint and stake on my property?
A: The green paint and/or stake on your property is indicating the location and depth of the sewer lead to your house. Our crew requires this to be located prior to the gas installation to avoid any damages. You may remove the stake from your yard at any time.

Q: When will the crew be working at my house?
A: Due to unknown issues (i.e., weather, underground issues, etc.) it is not possible to predict an exact date when the crew will be at your specific address. A good indication of when they are getting close is when you see the MISS DIG flags in the ground. These are the flags indicating the water, electric and other public utilities. The crew will typically start working within a week or two of the MISS DIG flags going up.

Q: What if I am away when they replace my gas service?
A: If you are away when the crew replaces your gas service, they will leave the gas turned off at the meter and place a door tag on your door with instructions to call 888-450-9054 24/7 to have a Consumers Energy service worker turn your gas back on and relight your appliances. We will work quickly to have your gas turned back on as soon as possible.

Q: How long will my gas service be turned off?
A: The typical amount of time for the gas to be turned off while the crew is working at the meter is about 30 to 60 minutes.

Q: Where will the crew be working on my property?
A: The majority of the work will take place between your gas meter and the street. If the gas main is on your side of the street then the crew may need to remove a few sections of sidewalk in front of your home in order to attach the service for the house across the street from you. We will replace these to be as close to the prior sidewalk sections as possible but there may be some differences depending on the age and condition of the original concrete.

Q: How much of my lawn/landscaping will be disturbed by this work?
A: The crew typically utilizes an underground bore machine to install the gas service to keep the disruption to a minimum. They will dig a small hole near the sidewalk/street and a hole under your gas meter. If they need to cross any underground utilities then they will dig a small hole at that location in order to spot the utility prior to crossing it. In some cases, the bore machine cannot be used and other techniques (open trench) of installation will need to be utilized. In any scenario, we will seek to restore the property to its condition prior to the start of our work.

Q: The work has been completed on my property. Can I remove the MISS DIG flags in my yard?
A: After our Consumers Energy team has completed the pipe replacement work in front of your home, the flags can be removed. However, in some cases, where lawn and concrete restoration work must still be completed, the flags should be left in place or will be replaced until that work is entirely completed.

Q: When will my lawn, concrete and/or sprinklers get repaired?
A: We make best efforts to restore your property as quickly as possible after the pipe construction project work is completed. Due to high volume of work for our restoration resources, you may see some delays having your lawn, concrete, or sprinklers repaired. We thank you for your patience as we complete this important work on our gas pipeline system. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Q: Why is this work being done?
A: Consumers Energy is committed to strengthening our natural gas system. We have a robust program in place to install new pipe, reduce operations and maintenance cost, and help enhance the environment. Replacing your gas service is a part of this program and will help ensure you have natural gas service available to you 24/7.

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