- DTE Gas yesterday announced plans to invest $1.4 billion in its Michigan natural gas pipeline infrastructure over the next five years, focusing on the replacement of aging pipes and upgrades at compressor stations.
- The utility said it is on track to replace more than 100 miles of gas mains this year, and hopes to eventually accelerate to about twice that pace.
- In addition to accelerating gas main replacement, up from the 80 miles it replaced last year, DTE said it would undertake modernization efforts at customer meters.
DTE wants to spend $1.4 billion upgrading its gas distribution system, but stressed to customers that low commodity prices would help keep rates in check while allowing the utility to focus on safety.
"We can do both," DTE Gas President and COO Mark Stiers said. "Lower natural gas prices have significantly reduced bills for our customers, who can be assured that they will continue to have a safe, reliable natural gas system."
The utility said it plans to double its current gas main replacement program, in addition to other upgrades it will make.
Natural gas meters will be moved from inside homes and businesses and replaced with advanced meters on the outside, DTE said, as part of the gas main modernization work. The new meters will give more detailed and accurate readings, in addition to alleviating the need to enter the customer's home.
In addition, DTE said it will also be making upgrades at compressor stations to ensure the continued reliable gas deliveries to all customers.
"Replacing older gas lines with the latest in pipeline material ensures that our natural gas system remains safe for our customers," said Stiers. "The key to maintaining a safe pipeline system is our regular inspections and maintenance of the lines."