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Consumers Energy announced "Reliability Roadmap" Monday in Grand Rapids

Consumers Energy Reliability Roadmap announcement, left to right Tonya Berry, Senior Vice President of Transformation & Engineering, Chris Laird, vice president of electric operations, Greg Salisbury, vice president of electric distribution engineering.
Patrick Center
Consumers Energy Reliability Roadmap announcement, left to right

"Reliability Roadmap" is blueprint for strengthening the state’s electric grid as extreme weather events intensify.

Consumers Energy serves two million Michigan electric customers energizing over 90,000 miles of power lines. The utility says it’s spent months modeling future weather. A current trend reveals over the past four years, wind speed averages are twice as high as any period over the past two decades.

Keeping the lights on regardless of weather, Consumers is launching its Reliability Roadmap with two goals in mind.

“Our customers will not experience long outages. We will have no more than 100,000 customers out during any event.”

Tonya Berry is Senior Vice President of Transformation & Engineering.

“Number two, wait for it, this plan says all customers, all customers, will be restored within 24-hours.”

Steps include investing $1 billion annually hardening the system including replacing poles with those that can withstand hurricane force winds and power lines resisting up to two inches of ice.

Greg Salisbury is vice president of electric distribution engineering. Undergrounding of power lines will be expanded.

“We now can say that the cost of undergrounding a rural, single-phase line is par with the cost of hardening above ground and then doing the tree trimming that has to be done year-over-year.”

Tree trimming will increase as well as the introduction of smart technology directing crews with pinpoint accuracy to outage locations.

Consumers Energy will file a five-year plan as part of the Reliability Roadmap with the Michigan Public Service Commission later this week.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.