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DTE Energy upgrades 2,000 miles of natural gas infrastructure

Improvements boost system safety and reliability ahead of plunging temps

DETROIT, Dec. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As another blast of frigid weather approaches Michigan, DTE Energy customers have peace of mind that the state's largest energy company continues to improve the safety and reliability of its natural gas delivery system, ensuring ample heat for homes and businesses this winter. 

An employee of DTE Energy's Gas Renewal Program team attaches a new service line from a customer's home to a new main pipeline.

Over the last five years, DTE, Michigan's largest energy company, has upgraded more than 2,100 miles of gas lines - enough to stretch from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie six times - and installed thousands of advanced meters through its Gas Renewal Program. This planned, deliberate work allows the company to improve infrastructure at a time when natural gas prices continue to fall, keeping overall energy costs affordable for customers. That's good news, heading into the cold winter months when temperatures drop and natural gas usage rises.

Mark Stiers, president and COO, DTE Gas, compares the work to the efforts of owning a vehicle.

"When you buy a car or truck, you maintain it to get the most of your investment. The same is true of our natural gas infrastructure that's served our customers very well," Stiers explained. "We diligently monitor and maintain our delivery system and make repairs when necessary. At some point, however, we need to replace sections of our system to ensure the reliable and cost effective delivery of energy to homes and businesses every day."  

In 2017, DTE's gas utility increased the pace of equipment upgrades statewide by installing:

  • 165 miles of new main line
  • Nearly 330 miles of service lines and
  • 20,000 advanced meters.

Through other system improvement programs this year, the company upgraded 

  • 72,000 meters for customers in Grand Rapids, and
  • Installed more than a mile of new main in Petoskey to accommodate the energy needs of a growing population in southern Emmet County.

Because of this work, today more than 1,100 potential customers now have access to natural gas from main pipeline extensions in areas near Big Rapids, Traverse City, Petoskey and Grand Rapids.

"These infrastructure investments not only keep natural gas delivery reliable, they are also beneficial to local economies," said Stiers. "Overall, the effort employs more than 300 people - either directly by DTE or though Michigan-based companies - and invests $60 million in contactors, engineers and restoration teams." 

While DTE employees have conducted this work, they earned the American Gas Association's Safety Achievement Award for excellence in employee safety the past two years.  

State of the art systems constantly monitor DTE Gas Infrastructure
Maintaining reliability and customer safety

From a modern control room, DTE gas controllers analyze a constant flow of data 24/7/365 from more than 4,500 points along the system. Changes in pressure and other information are transmitted from pipeline sensors to computers and telemetry equipment in the control room that display the information to the controllers.

Should the need arise, within minutes, controllers can close any of the more than 140 remote-control valves to shut the flow of gas at key locations in the pipeline system.

DTE also performs routine inspections inside major pipeline sections, using a self-contained electronic device. This device emits a strong magnetic field to detect anomalies inside the pipe and is pushed through the gas system while recording detailed data about the condition of the line. Above the system, aerial surveys are conducted twice a month of the company's 2,200 miles of transmission lines.

About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.  As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.com, twitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

DTE Energy (PRNewsFoto/DTE Energy)

SOURCE DTE Energy

For further information: For further information, members of the media may contact: Pete Ternes or John Fossen at 313.235.5555