Consumers Energy issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the arbitration ruling related to the Royal Oak explosion, which occurred one year ago:
Consumers Energy has received the arbitration ruling related to the Feb. 27, 2013 Royal Oak incident. The arbitrator has provided a reasoned opinion that recognized the serious nature of this incident, and most importantly, the impacts to public safety.
The ruling upholds the previous job termination of four union employees involved in this incident for failure to follow established policies and procedures. Separately, Consumers Energy had previously terminated two non-union supervisory employees associated with this incident and disciplined three
others, also for failing to follow established policies and procedures.
The ruling also provided for long-term disciplinary action for three other union employees, which resulted in almost a one-year suspension from the job without any provision for back-pay.
These actions clearly reinforce and demonstrate that all Consumers Energy employees are personally accountable for upholding company policies and procedures regarding the safety of our customers, the public and the communities we serve.
We continue to focus on our promise to customers: To safely provide energy to homes, families and businesses across Michigan. We are taking steps every day to help prevent an event like this from happening again. As agreed to with the Michigan Public Service Commission and Michigan’s Attorney General, we have contributed nearly $1 million to create a Natural Gas Incident Response Fund, strengthened our worker certification and training programs, and are conducting a comprehensive study on natural gas safety.