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Consumers Energy gas pipeline project begins in township

July 11, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- Consumers Energy will begin installation of gas mains in the township July 23 on Allen and Reese roads.

Residents on those roads who signed contracts with Consumers can expect gas service lines directly to their homes to be installed the week of July 30 after the main line is extended in the road right-of-way. Reese and Allen roads are the first of several roads that are included in the first phase of the project.

"Consumers will be working in the township all summer," said Debra Dodd, Consumers Energy spokesperson. "The goal is to get phase 1 completed before cold weather sets in, we don't want residents to have to buy propane and natural gas."

Work on the project has been months in the making and eagerly anticipated by many residents who have waited years for the gas main extension to be approved.

Consumers Energy announced in February a proposal to install gas mains in unserviced areas of the township in three phases. Overall, the project would offer service to 2,000 occupied structures.

Consumers is still evaluating whether to extend gas mains on Osprey Ridge, Harmony Lane, Kathleen Lake Drive and Sherwood Court, where no response was received from any of the 13 homeowners, as well as Stanton Road, Thornridge Trail and Wooley Road, where very low response was received. However, as of July 11, the utility had received 227 signed contracts and deposits overall from township residents who wished to be included in the first phase of the gas main extension project, more than enough to proceed.

"We're very happy with the response," said Dodd.

The primary motivation to switch to natural gas from other heat sources, including propane, is price, said Consumers Energy Customer Attachment Program Manager Dan Jones. The equivalent cost of natural gas against propane is 84 cents per gallon, including, he stressed, all charges from Consumers. He compared that to $2.19 per gallon for the average price of propane and points out that natural gas customers would save $1.35 per gallon.

The majority of construction will involve pipes being laid via dug trenches. In environmentally sensitive areas, Dodd said boring will be done. No road closures are expected. The gas main distribution line will be installed in the road right-of-way with any mains installed on private roads requiring easements. The contractor will backfill areas that are trench dug, and soil will be compacted both on private property and on road right-of-way. Grass seed will be laid in road right-of-way only, with homeowners responsible for seeding their own property and doing any other landscaping.

Dodd said Consumers Energy employees will continue to be out in the community designing services for residents every Saturday until plans are completed.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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