By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – DTE Energy officials explained its program to upgrade aging natural gas infrastructure, including new pipes and service lines, and moving meters to outside at a Sept 17 city council study session.
The Gas Renewal Program includes the installation of new natural gas advance meters, as well as the replacement of older main and service lines with new and improved materials to reduce leak risk, DTE engineer Phillip Barton said.
He said the work, which will be done at no cost to customers, allows for quicker response time during a gas system outage by allowing the meter to be turned off from the outside of a building.
Outside gas meters minimize the need for gas consumption estimates, alleviates customer inconvenience by eliminating the need to enter a house to perform maintenance, and improves customer satisfaction by allowing for more frequent and comprehensive gas meter inspections and maintenance.
“At the heart of it is really a safety program,” Barton said. “We are trying to remove some of our equipment that is located inside the residence and move it outside so it is accessible to us for shutoff and reading.”
The neighborhood east of Beech Daly, north of Wick, west of Telegraph and south of the Conrail Railroad tracks will be the focus of the initial DTE gas infrastructure upgrades in the city.
Barton said 844 inside meters in the area will be replaced and moved outside, and 122 feet of 3-inch diameter plastic gas main pipe will be installed on Munson Street. The work is slated to begin the first week of October, and completion is estimated to occur by the end of December. Final restoration of grounds, which is weather dependent, will be completed next spring, Barton said.
“This program is really geared for replacing what in our eyes and the Michigan Public Service Commission’s eyes is considered life-saving old infrastructure cast iron gas main unprotected steel, bare steel, so most of the work that we are doing is the service lines in this area,” Barton said. “Most of the areas in the city of Taylor are newer and protected steel.”
Barton said residents will receive a letter covering frequently asked questions, an explanation of landscaping and cement restoration, and the 10-day notice of gas service termination if access to a house is not granted. Door-hangers will reinforce the message, he said, and follow up postcard will solicit survey feedback.
For more information, go to dteenergy.com/gas renewal.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)