DTE employee Chris Ordo demonstrates for a reporter how upgraded natural gas meters are connected to service lines during a Gas Renewal Program media event at the DTE Gas Operations Resource Center in Melvindale.

Infrastructure upgrades will ensure gas reliability for years to come

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DTE hosted a media event Wednesday, March 29, to demonstrate the kinds of work that goes into upgrading natural gas residential and neighborhood main lines, showing how crews install and connect the polyethylene lines and upgrade to new meters. The new lines are easier to transport, cost less to install, resist corrosion and are more resistant to cracks and pressure than the lines they replace, which reduces the potential for leaks.

This year, crews will replace more than 140 miles of lines in Dearborn, the Grosse Pointe Farms, Park, Shores and Woods areas, Harper Woods, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Muskegon as part of a multi-year program to enhance the company’s natural gas infrastructure. As part of the program, cast-iron and steel lines are being replaced with flexible polyethylene lines, and meters are being upgraded and relocated to building exteriors.

A new website will allow residents of these areas to see where crews will be replacing lines as well as getting more information about the upgrade process.

“Our customers rely on us to keep the natural gas delivery system reliable and safe,” said Joi Harris, vice president of Gas Operations at DTE Energy. “DTE is a leader in safety performance and we are committed to keeping it that way for many years to come.”

As part of the process, DTE is collaborating with local communities to schedule upgrades along with other planned work on roads or sewers to keep disruptions to a minimum.

Once the work is done, DTE will restore lawns, sidewalks, driveways and streets to their original condition. Last year, DTE restored more than 450,000 square feet of lawns following upgrade work.

In addition to keeping gas systems reliable for the future, the upgrade program supports Michigan’s economy. More than 300 people are employed through the program, either directly by DTE or through Michigan-based contractors, and the upgrade program will put $60 million in the local economy through spending on contractors, engineers and restoration teams.

Attendees at the event also saw how DTE trains crews to detect natural gas leaks, an important safety measure that protects customers. DTE responds to all suspected natural gas leaks at no cost to customers, and crews are trained to ensure that leaks are eliminated and the location is safe every time they respond to a call.

If you smell a possible natural gas leak, report it immediately through dteenergy.com or by calling 800.947.5000.