Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. From the belly to the beginning of college, we understand the importance of teaching safe lifestyles to shape your children’s futures. Consumers Energy wants to celebrate National Baby Safety Month with helpful safety tips to protect your child at home.
Consumers Energy Knows Family
Our company is a huge proponent of family, especially when it comes to safety. From our family to yours, check out six safety tips to protect your children:
- Keep Climbable Furniture Away from Windows
As the September air becomes crisp, your family can save money on your energy bill by opening windows at night to cool your home. However, window screens will not prevent a fall from happening. Be sure to block any open windows so children cannot access them. You may also look into hiring a professional to properly install window guards.
- Install Outlet Covers and Cord Shorteners
Prevent small children from touching electrical outlets by installing outlet covers in your home. Cord shorteners will also eliminate the possibility of your children pulling on electrical cords. If any cords look damaged or are frayed, be sure to stop using them immediately.
- Unplug and Store Electric Appliances
When finished with appliances like curling irons, hair dryers, flat irons and electric razors make sure to unplug them and store them in an area children cannot access. This will prevent burns or other injuries from occurring.
- Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
If your home uses gas heat, it is especially important to install a carbon monoxide detector to protect your entire family from poisoning. Learn more on how to prevent carbon monoxide.
- Have a Chemical Fire Extinguisher
In the case of an electrical fire, it’s important not to use water to extinguish it. Since water conducts electricity, using it will cause a fire to become larger. Have a chemical fire extinguisher handy to get rid of an electrical fire properly. If the fire is becoming too dangerous to put out, leave your home immediately and call the fire department.
- Prep Before a Storm
Below is a helpful guide for your entire family before a storm. Be sure to add baby food, a diaper bag and any medications your children may need. Check out additional information on the American Red Cross Identification Program for anyone in your family that depends on electric powered life-support equipment, prescribed by a doctor.
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Darrell Browning, a Consumers Energy Electric Construction Field Leader, doesn’t go to work for the money and status. It’s his commitment to serving others, problem solving and helping people reach their full potential that drives Browning to work hard every day.
Darrell Browning’s life purpose wasn’t always this clear. Growing up just outside of Detroit in the inner city of Mount Clemens, Mich., he was the youngest in a household of eight with one income. Although financially times were tough, his parents always made sure their family had what they needed to get by.
Browning also struggled with insecurities that prevented him from fitting in with other kids in school. Because his family couldn’t afford braces, Browning grew up with a negative self-image, resisting speaking up or even smiling. He also battled attention deficit disorder (ADD), which at the time wasn’t recognized as a disorder. His lack of attention span led to poor academics and increased discipline from those around him.
It wasn’t until adulthood that Browning’s mindset changed. He learned he had no control over the life he’d been given and if he didn’t become confident and accept who he was, he’d never reach his full potential and discover his purpose in life.
Advice from Darrell Browning
Browning wants to encourage others to let go of their past and know everything they’ve gone through was meant to shape them into the people they are today. His tips include:
- Understand it’s okay to be different—we’re all different
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Surround yourself with people who help you grow
- Accept challenges
- Focus on developing yourself at your own pace and learning style
- Seek out your strengths and build on them
Working for Consumers Energy, Browning has been able to exercise his personal values by treating people with the utmost respect. He demonstrates commitment, honesty and integrity to defuse any conflict for effective communication. Browning’s leadership increases the reliability of a job well done at Consumers Energy and we’re proud he shared his experiences.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
José Rivera Fuertes Jr. is a Consumers Energy Electric Employee Development Consultant who trains entry-level apprentices, journeymen lineworkers and lineworkers-in-charge at the Marshall Training Center. Fuertes teaches the necessary skills needed to perform efficient electrical work like splicing cables and fixing transformers in the safest possible way.
Marshall Training Center: The Stats
Consumers Energy’s Marshall Training Center was rebuilt in 2008 and includes:
- 5 acres of land which contains poles, electric lines and transmission systems for training
- A main building with six large classrooms and three labs
- An indoor training area with 23 training poles and an underground substation vault
- A renewable energy center
- Two wind turbines and a fixed-panel solar array which power the Marshall buildings and are used to teach renewable energy to trainees
LEED Certified to Lead the Way
The Marshall Training Center is also built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, part of our environmental commitment. This means the buildings use materials, energy and other resources more efficiently like:
- Carefully positioned skylights
- Sensors that trigger lights on and off when people use training classrooms
- An advanced insulated design that includes renewable and recyclable materials
Check out more information on Consumers Energy’s environmental commitment.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
For Jim Sunday, there is no average day as a Consumers Energy Senior Project Manager I. Rain or shine, Jim enjoys his exciting job regulating the Southwest Michigan 1200B Natural Gas Pipeline. This project focuses on constructing 24 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline, part of an investment Consumers Energy made to improve the reliability of its natural gas infrastructure.
The line will run northeast through St. Joseph and Branch counties. This project completes a 90-mile dual gas transmission pipeline corridor, increasing system reliability for our 1.7 million natural gas customers.
The project involves five main phases:
- Land clearing
- Trench excavating
- Pipeline installation
Why Consumers Energy Invests in Natural Gas Pipeline
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, pipelines are the safest, most reliable and cost effective means of transporting energy products over long distances. Inspecting, assessing and replacing the natural gas pipelines provide many benefits for customers such as:
After the new 1200B pipe is completed, we will be able to perform routine safety inspections on either of its parallel pipelines—while keeping the gas flowing.
Transporting larger volumes of natural gas will not only encourage economic growth in Michigan, but it will protect our customers from price spikes.
Customers can save money by purchasing natural gas during the summer when prices are lower and storing it until it’s needed in the winter.
More information on the Southwest Michigan Pipeline Project.
VIDEO: featuring Jim Sunday as a Senior Project Manager I at Consumers Energy.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy Focusing on Forestry Projects Across Michigan to Deliver Electricity More Safely, Reliably
As part of our commitment at Consumers Energy to deliver energy safely and reliably, we are increasing our work to keep trees away from electric lines in communities across Michigan.
Trees account for about 30 percent of all power outages, and fallen trees or limbs can cut power to hundreds or thousands of people at a time. VIDEO: Trees and Power Lines
About 700 workers are currently in the field trimming or removing trees that come in contact with electric lines. They plan to work along 6,375 miles of lines, enough to travel from the Indiana or Ohio state line to the Mackinac Bridge more than 20 times.
We are dedicating more resources to forestry this year than in 2013 and addressing the circuits most affected by tree-related outages to improve reliability for the 1.8 million homes and businesses we serve.
By keeping trees from coming into contact with wires, we give our customers the best chance to keep their lights on during the worst of Michigan’s weather.
An important part of our forestry work is sustainability and planting the right tree in the right place. We worked to provide more than $50,000 in grants last year to help plant more than 390 trees in more than 40 communities. This year, the company is doubling that amount to $100,000, with maximum grants to communities of $2,000.
Trees and Power Lines In Your Community
- Our crews share local tree-trimming plans to residents well in advance of the actual work.
- Planners walk circuits where work is scheduled, talking to residents in person or leaving contact information, and marking trees that will be trimmed.
- Letters also are mailed in advance to all homeowners and businesses along circuits where work will take place.
Learn more and get a list of preferred trees to plant near power lines at http://www.ConsumersEnergy.com/forestry.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Restoration work continues after severe thunderstorms with frequent lightning and winds in excess of 60 mph caused more than 70,000 customer outages across Consumers Energy’s service territory. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday about 60,600 customers remained without service.
See the 4 safety tips below and stay 25 feet away from downed wires. DOWNED WIRE SAFETY VIDEO: Learn tips about the dangers and how to stay safe around downed power lines
Most customers without power since Monday night should be restored by late tonight or early Wednesday. In the Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Bronson and Jackson areas, among the hardest hit by the storms, some customers may not have their power restored until late Wednesday.
Ongoing damage assessment, as well as expected windy conditions, may affect estimated restoration times.
As of 10:45 a.m., counties most affected by electric interruptions were: Branch (1,830); Calhoun (26,000); Genesee (1,802); Hillsdale (3,751); Ingham (657); Jackson (11,189); Kalamazoo (6,778); Livingston (1,315); St. Joseph (5,353); VanBuren (405) and Washtenaw (350).
More than 1,300 Consumers Energy and contract personnel, from damage assessors, tree crews, call center representatives to line workers, are dedicated to the storm restoration effort.
You can get updated restoration information at our online outage map, where outages can also be reported and power outage information is available. The online map may be accessed by both computers and mobile devices. You also may report a power outage by calling 1-800-477-5050.
4 Tips to Stay Safe during Power Restoration
- Stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately by calling 9-1-1 or Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050.
- Be alert to crews working along roads. Drivers should slow down or stop and wait for oncoming traffic to clear so they safely can go past workers on roadsides.
- If using a generator, contact a licensed electrician to ensure that it is properly connected and, for the safety of our lineworkers, make certain it is isolated from the company’s electric distribution system. Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement or near any air intakes, and never fuel a generator when it is running.
- In some cases, the mast which holds the electric service wires to a customer’s home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.
Drive Safely in Pipeline Construction, Watch for Wind Turbines During Consumers Energy Upgrades in Michigan
We’re urging Michigan drivers to be especially aware of crews working alongside the road in St. Joseph and Branch counties this summer and to watch for trucks carrying large wind turbines to our new wind park in the thumb area of Caro, Mich.
Consumers Energy crews work along Michigan roads throughout the year to replace power poles and complete other energy upgrades. This summer, we’re asking drivers to be especially vigilant and exercise extreme caution in roadside work areas. VIDEO: Roadside safety
- We are building the Southwest 1200B Pipeline Project, which will run 24 miles through St. Joseph and Branch counties and complete a 90-mile dual gas transmission pipeline corridor. This will increase value, reliability and safety for Consumers Energy’s 1.7 million natural gas customers.
- Pipeline construction involves five main phases: Land clearing, trench excavating, pipeline installation, welding and backfilling. Currently, all five phases are taking place simultaneously. Construction began in May and have ramped up in June, which will continue until the project is completed this September.
- Safety for everyone involved – crews, motorists, landowners and all customers and residents – is our number one priority. That’s why we are asking drivers in the area to be aware of our activities and to slow down and be alert when passing by construction zones, vehicles and roadside workers, and to please observe sign operators’ signals to stop or slow down.
- Our second wind park is underway and the company is urging safe driving as large equipment is transported on Michigan highways. Billboards promoting safe driving are in place in southeast and southwest Michigan, the entry points for delivery of wind turbine generators, 165-foot turbine blades and Michigan-made turbine towers.
- The $255 million wind park is being constructed by approximately 150 workers, in Akron and Columbia townships in Tuscola County.
- The plans for Cross Winds include 62 wind turbines, with a capacity of 105 megawatts when it begins generating renewable energy for Consumers Energy customers in late 2014. View park layout
Dangerous weather may happen without much notice − but that doesn’t mean your family or business can’t be prepared. Safety is top priority at Consumers Energy, and we promise to work together for safer Michigan communities.
Here is a VIDEO: Prep Before the Storm along with the top five tips to help keep you and your family safe.
- Gather Water, Food and Medication – Your family should have a 3-day supply of water bottles, canned foods and any medication needed just in case a bad storm delays food supplies
- Have First Aid Kits Ready – It’s important to keep and regularly fill two first aid kits − one for the house and another for a vehicle. Be sure to add a whistle if your family needs to signal for help during an emergency
- Assemble Battery-Operated Tools – Keep a flashlight, battery-operated lantern and radio ready to help your family remain safe. Don’t forget extra batteries to keep the tools working properly
- Keep Cash on Hand – If ATMs and credit card machines are out of order because of a storm, be sure to have extra cash to spend on any supplies your family may need
- Create a Communication Plan – Last, but certainly not least, devise a communication plan for your entire family to follow during a storm. This safety procedure should include where to go if your family becomes separated and which phone numbers should be memorized. Businesses should have a plan to notify employees
Check out more storm prep tips to keep your family safe all year.
Get 15 tips to help your business weather any Michigan storm.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Consumers Energy Investing $150 Million to Strengthen and Expand Natural Gas Lines Throughout Michigan
We’re spending over $150 million this year to strengthen and expand our natural gas system throughout Michigan as part of our ongoing plan to provide safe, reliable natural gas service in the communities we serve.
We are proud that these efforts also involve putting more Michiganders to work. Consumers Energy has hired an additional 450 skilled employees over the past two years who are dedicated to a significant portion of this work.
The gas system improvements will upgrade portions of Consumers Energy’s 29,000 miles of distribution and transmission gas pipelines that serve 1.7 million natural gas customers in Michigan. The company’s $82 million enhanced infrastructure program includes 59 projects to replace 88 miles of pipeline. VIDEO: Workers install natural gas pipeline. LEARN MORE: How natural gas gets to your home or business.
Key enhancement projects for 2014 include:
- 18 projects in numerous cities within Oakland and Wayne counties
- 12 projects in Flint, Burton, Mt. Morris, and Imlay City
- Nine projects in Kalamazoo and Decatur
- Seven projects in Saginaw, Bay City, Kochville and Bangor Township
- Seven projects in Lansing, Webberville, Williamston and Portland
- Three projects in Hastings and Owosso
- Two projects in Alma
- One project in Tecumseh
These projects are in addition to more than $68 million that Consumers Energy will spend this year to expand and enhance other areas of its statewide natural gas system:
- More than $21 million to replace or move natural gas lines and related infrastructure due to civic improvement projects such as road and sewer work
- Nearly $17 million to accommodate new business growth as the state’s economy continues to improve
- More than $26 million to add more than 2,500 new customers to its natural gas system, who are switching from another heating fuel, such as propane
- Over $4 million to upgrade service to existing customers in targeted areas
Congratulations to meter worker Toni Fabus for being selected as Consumers Energy’s Gatekeeper of the Year 2013! Her selfless work was honored by the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging, Consumers Energy and a representative of Governor Rick Snyder earlier this month. Fabus also accepted the Outstanding Contributor Award from Consumers Energy.
Toni Fabus earned these awards for going above and beyond on the job.
- During an electric service call, she heard screaming coming from a house.
- Fabus crawled through an open window to find an elderly woman, who had fallen, and was living in deplorable conditions. She then called for help to aid the woman.
- Fabus’ service connected the individual to aging services, which changed the woman’s life.
Consumers Energy has worked with the Commission on Services to the Aging for 27 years to recognize employees who help those 60 and over who may not be able to help themselves. Since 1987, Consumers Energy employees have referred more than 6,000 older adults to the Gatekeeper Program.
Fabus was chosen from a list of 12 honorees from Consumers Energy. We are so proud to have Toni Fabus and all those who help our customers in our Consumers Energy family. Their compassionate hearts remind us of the importance to help others every day and exemplify our Promise to care for the Michigan communities we serve.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
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