DTE Gas is celebrating its 175th anniversary, marking nearly two centuries of providing safe, reliable and affordable natural gas to customers across Michigan – everyone from families to corner stores to automotive factories.

Natural gas has proven to be a reliable and cost-effective energy source for Michigan families throughout the last 175 years, and it is expected to remain so for decades to come. DTE Gas is excited and ready to meet customers’ needs today with a standard of excellence while pursuing infrastructure improvements and providing greenhouse gas emission-reducing solutions that will benefit Michiganders for generations to come.


Building on a strong foundation and storied history 

In 1849, only the feeble glow from a candlelit window or moonlight pierced the nighttime shadows. While some cities in the eastern United States used natural gas lighting for decades, access to capital and expertise slowed its spread west of the Allegheny mountains to the Midwest. Despite these challenges, Philadelphia natural gas engineer Lemuel H. Davis took on the task of organizing a Detroit company and securing local financial backing.

Armed with a charter from the State Legislature and a 10-year city gas lighting contract, the Detroit Gas Light Company – the company DTE Gas traces its roots back to – began building a natural gas manufacturing plant and laying distribution pipelines. Less than two years later, in 1851, gas lights first began illuminating Detroit’s streets.

This company with humble beginnings would go on to become the model for a modern natural gas company. As the energy needs of Michiganders changed, the company evolved as well.

  • 1849 – Detroit Gas Light Company is chartered on March 14.
  • 1851 – Gas lights appear on Detroit streets for the first time on September 24.
  • 1885 – The company first begins selling stoves, the first of many new modern appliances.
  • 1889 – Natural gas arrives in Detroit from Ohio on December 31 via Michigan Gas Company, a pipeline firm and competitor.
  • 1893 – Detroit Gas Company buys Detroit Light Company, Mutual and Michigan Gas.
  • 1903 – The Detroit Gas Company was renamed Detroit City Gas Co. It secured franchises for Highland Park and Hamtramck and increased its customer base to more than 67,000 customers.
  • 1905 Detroit Gas Company is purchased by holding company American Light & Traction (AL&T).
  • 1938 – Michigan Consolidated Gas Company (MichCon) is formed from the Detroit City Gas Company, the Grand Rapids Gas Light Company, the Washtenaw Gas Company and the Muskegon Gas Company after federal regulations limited AL&T “to a single, integrated, public-utility system.”
  • 1941 – MichCon develops the first natural gas reservoir in the state, Austin Field.
  • 1973 – The one-millionth customer signs up for natural gas service.
  • 1986 – MichCon “opens” its transmission system, allowing large gas users to purchase their gas on the open market and use MichCon pipes to move that gas to their facilities.
  • 2001 – DTE Energy and MCN Energy Group completed a merger that created Michigan’s largest energy company and a premier regional energy provider.
  • 2010 – DTE Gas begins a 25-year project to upgrade 4,000 miles of natural gas pipelines, to increase reliability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 500,000 metric tons annually.
  • 2020 – DTE Gas announces an aspirational net zero carbon emissions goal by 2050. DTE Gas was the first natural gas company in the nation to aim to reduce emissions from extraction through to delivery as part of its goal.
  • 2021 – DTE Gas launches CleanVision Natural Gas Balance, a voluntary and first-of-its-kind program allowing customers to reduce their carbon footprints through offsets and supporting renewable natural gas.

Serving the evolving needs of today’s customers  

Today, DTE Gas is one of the largest natural gas providers in the United States, supplying critical energy to more than 1.3 million customers throughout the state. The company employs more than 1,700 people and supports jobs in Southeast Michigan, Grand Rapids, Muskegon County, mid-Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

In 2020, DTE Gas announced an aspirational net zero carbon emissions goal by 2050 and is actively working to meet it. The company was the first across the natural gas value chain to announce a net zero by 2050 goal for its utility operations and include the same goal for its gas supply. The company is also aiming to reduce customer emissions 35% by 2040 through energy efficiency and programs to manage emissions like Natural Gas Balance.

Strengthening to serve customers’ needs for decades to come 

Building on its track record of innovation, DTE Gas is making historic investments to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas that Michiganders depend on, such as:

  • A $3.7 billion project that runs through 2035, modernizing more than 4,000 miles of older cast-iron and steel natural gas pipes and moving indoor gas meters outside.
  • More than 200 miles of new pipes will be installed, and more than 22,000 meters will be moved outdoors in 29 Michigan communities in 2024. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions for many years to come by an estimated 500,000 metric tons annually.

“DTE Gas’ history is Michigan’s history – a story of invention, steadfastness and resilience,” said Bob Richard, president and chief operating officer, DTE Gas. “Yet for all our history, I believe the most exciting chapter is the one we’re writing now. Our commitment to improving infrastructure and leading the transition to net zero carbon emissions will benefit our customers and all of Michigan.”

Thanks for celebrating this monumental anniversary. DTE Gas is honored to serve you and countless residents and business owners across Michigan.

Learn more about natural gas services on DTE’s website.