Consumers Energy Marks Milestone as Natural Gas Crews Head East

For the first time in our 125-year history, we sent natural gas crews to assist with storm restoration work outside of Michigan. They left Nov. 6 en route to West Hempstead, N.Y., approximately 30 miles east of New York City. They will join more than 300 of our employees and contractors already providing assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The gas crews will be gone for up to two weeks and will work primarily on replacing damaged gas regulators and re-lighting individual gas services in coordination with local utility National Grid.

“The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy has wreaked havoc not only on the electric grid but also the natural gas distribution systems, especially in New York and New Jersey. This is especially critical when most customers heat their homes and businesses with natural gas and cold temperatures continue,” Kirkland said.

“National Grid reports its gas restoration work is now focused in the New York City and Long Island areas, which is where we’re headed. This is a first for our company, and I’m proud to have our gas crews join our electric crews to help the millions of people affected by this historic storm.”

On Nov. 1, Consumers Energy sent about 35 electric line workers and support staff to Cleveland to assist utility First Energy. An additional 15 utility employees were sent to Cleveland Saturday. With that work now completed, the 50 employees were en route Nov. 5 to Oceanport, N.J. to assist First Energy with restoration efforts.

Oct. 28, before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, Consumers Energy sent 14 engineering support personnel to assist First Energy’s Potomac Edison Company in Hagerstown, Md. Since arriving, the group has performed electric equipment damage assessments in Maryland, West Virginia and currently is in New Jersey. In addition, the utility has released 250 contract workers specializing in electric distribution line repair and tree and debris removal to assist First Energy and National Grid utilities.

“I appreciate the willingness of our crews to spend an extended time away from their homes and families to help the Hurricane Sandy victims,” Kirkland said. “These East Coast residents have now been without electric and natural gas service for a week; the work being performed by Consumers Energy and our contractors is vital to helping these victims get their lives back in order.”

Kirkland said there are sufficient Consumers Energy staffing levels remaining in the state as the hurricane work continues. “While we are reaching out to assist those most affected by Hurricane Sandy, our customers can rest assured we have adequate staffing here in Michigan to address any issues,” she said.