EAST TAWAS – Consumers Energy has opened a new field office in Tawas designed to bring hometown service back to the area and enhanced customer service, the utility announced in a press release on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
The new facility serves as a hub for electric field workers, equipment and vehicles to serve portions of Alpena, Arenac, Alcona, Iosco and Ogemaw counties in Michigan’s northeastern Lower Peninsula. The field office supports electric distribution operations including new business, maintenance, and emergent operations in surrounding areas.
“The new addition to Consumers Energy’s electric operations is an investment that is expected to improve customer service and response to emergency situations for our customers in northeast Michigan. We recognized the need to enhance service, particularly following storm activity, in this part of the state and are pleased to provide hometown service within the greater Tawas community,” said James Slieff, executive director of low voltage distribution for Consumers Energy.
The new field office, located at 2380 East Lincoln St. in East Tawas, consists of a nearly 22,000 square foot building designed with sustainability measures such as a solar power generation array, solar shading, enhanced building insulation and high efficiency mechanical equipment. The company also worked to retain existing vegetation and trees for screening and the site was designed to retain all storm water drainage onsite.
Other building features include office/crew meeting space, storeroom, automotive/equipment area with vehicle wash bay, meter pick-up area, covered storage for vehicles and equipment, diesel fueling area, and outdoor storage for poles.
About 20 employees will work from the field office including electric lineworkers, storekeeper, mechanic, field supervisor and a community affairs representative.
Previously, employees based out of the West Branch Service Center served the Tawas area and other nearby communities. Opening the new Tawas location will reduce travel across the territory for both Tawas and West Branch, improving service and response for customers, according to Consumers Energy officials. It will also reduce travel time for employees who commuted about 40 miles to work from the West Branch Service Center.
“This new field office is a win-win-win that helps customers, the community and our employees,” said Richard Castle, community affairs area manager for northeast Michigan. “This will have a significant impact in Tawas and the whole region because we now have 24/7 coverage of the area. The community is very excited for us to have a presence here again.”
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.