Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Control your energy costs no matter what winter brings

Wisconsin  winters can be brutal. That’s why we’re sharing these no- and low-cost tips to help you manage your energy costs all season long — no matter how low those wind chills may get.

No cost

Dial it down: Lower your thermostat when you’re asleep or away. Even a few degrees can make a big difference. 

Let the sunshine in: Open your shades, blinds and drapes during the day to let in the warmth of the sun. Close them at night to keep the warm air in.

Check your water heater: If it’s set higher than 120 degrees F, you’re likely using more energy than you need to wash your hands, clean dishes and wash your clothes. 

Put your ceiling fan to work: Run your ceiling fan clockwise at the lowest speed. This moves the warmer air trapped near the ceiling down and around the room. 

Low cost

Cover drafty windows: Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame.

Seal cracks and gaps: Don’t let cold air creep in through poorly sealed windows or doors. Use caulk or weatherstripping to stay comfortable.

Replace your furnace filter: Dirty filters reduce airflow and make your furnace use more energy. Replace it monthly during the heating season, or buy a high-efficiency filter than can last several months.

Focus on Energy: Check out our partners at Focus on Energy for instant discounts on energy-efficient products like LED bulbs, smart thermostats and power strips. You may even qualify for a free energy-saving kit!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Keep your family safe with these cold weather tips

Winter can be a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the snow or hibernate indoors, but the cold temperatures can also pose some problems. Use these winter tips to be prepared and to keep yourself and your family safe and warm.

Be prepared: Be prepared for winter power outages by assembling an emergency kit with blankets, flashlights and battery-powered chargers for your cellphones. Save our number to your phone to call if your power goes out: 800-261-5325. 

Keep meters clear: Wipe away winter hazards by keeping meters and vents free from snow and ice. Clear away snow using your hands or a broom — never use a shovel or other sharp object. Remove icicles and snow hanging above the meter, and use caution when shoveling or using a snowblower near the meter.

Space heater safety: If you plan to use a space heater, do so safely. Only use newer models with safety features like automatic shut-off. Place heater on a flat surface away from children and pets. Avoid using extension cords, and keep the heater at least 6 feet away from combustible materials like drapes or blankets.

Safe sleeping: Do not take risks with your electric blanket. When you’re not using your blanket, turn it off to reduce the risk of fire. Keep pets away from electric blankets, as their teeth and claws can puncture wire insulation and cause damage.

Prevent carbon monoxide dangers: The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is greater during the winter months. Be prepared and stay safe by installing a carbon monoxide detector, checking heating vents for blockages and learning the symptoms of CO poisoning.

Prevent furnace issues: Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician and clean or replace furnace filters as needed. 

Keep clutter away from furnace: Keep the area around the furnace and water heater free of clutter, and never store flammable liquids near those areas. Taking these steps can help reduce the risk of fire and damage to the furnace.

Oven safety: Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Make sure the burner flame on your stove is blue. A yellow flame may indicate the need for an adjustment.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

#FridayGiving: 2020 in Review

For decades, We Energies has been investing in the communities we serve to ensure a brighter future for everyone. This year, we embarked on a new project called #FridayGiving to highlight some of the incredible nonprofits we are proud to support. 

Every Friday, for the past 52 weeks, we have featured organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, and City Year Milwaukee on our social media pages.

We had no idea when we started that COVID-19 would take such a toll on our city, state and country. But the importance of our charitable giving has become clearer than ever. 

This year, the We Energies Foundation donated: 

More than $500,000 to organizations on the front lines of the pandemic, including healthcare organizations and nonprofits committed to keeping families fed.

$100,000 to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Community Foundation’s Rebuild and Revitalize fund to help local businesses that sustained damage during this summer’s unrest.

$50,000 to more than 30 public safety agencies across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula as part of our inaugural Rewarding Responders Grants.

That is on top of the donations given to hundreds of organizations that applied for grants to support their initiatives for community and neighborhood development, health and human services, arts and culture, education and the environment.

Since the early 1980s, we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. We are committed to carrying that legacy into 2021 and beyond. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

New report shows peregrine falcons thriving thanks to We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) are celebrating another successful year in helping the state-listed endangered peregrine falcon population flourish. According to this year’s Peregrine Falcon Nesting Season Report, an impressive 410 peregrine falcon chicks have been born, named and banded at We Energies and WPS power plants in Wisconsin and Michigan in the past 28 years.

According to peregrine falcon manager Greg Septon, 20% of all peregrine falcons born in the wild in Wisconsin over the last two-and-a-half decades were born at We Energies or WPS facilities. 

The report also features:

Nesting details for all the 2020 chicks, including “Cream Puff” and “Bubbler,” named after your favorite things about Wisconsin.

Pictures of the eight chicks hatched at We Energies and WPS power plants in 2020.

Sightings of popular peregrines from years past, including “Beak Freak” and “Yeli,” named after Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich, respectively.

The peregrine falcon program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Be safe and efficient this holiday season

We’ve made a list, and we’ve checked it twice. Here are 12 helpful tips to keep your holidays safe and your energy costs manageable. 

Tip 1: Keep your baking spirits bright. Don’t open the oven door to peek at your holiday goodies. Opening the door can drop the temperature 25 degrees, adding to cooking time and energy use. Try checking your treats by turning on the oven light instead.

Tip 2: It’s a beaut, Clark! Switch to LED lights. They last longer and use less energy compared to incandescent lights. Just make sure you don’t overload your outlets.

Tip 3: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow — but please safely brush away snow and ice from your home’s natural gas meter and vents. The extra weight can stress or crack meter piping, causing a natural gas leak.

Tip 4: Make it the hap-hap-happiest season when you save money by turning down your thermostat a few degrees when you are nestled all snug in bed, while visions of sugarplums dance in your head.

Tip 5: It’s a clinker! Don’t let that blasted furnace leave your holiday story bitter. Schedule tuneups and change the filter regularly to keep it running safely and efficiently all winter long.

Tip 6: Roasting chestnuts on the fire? Open-hearth fireplaces draw hot air from your home, sending it — and possibly your energy budget — up the chimney. Cracking open a nearby window reduces the amount of heated interior air drawn into the fireplace and improves efficiency by up to 20%!

Tip 7: When making the figgy pudding, match the pot or pan size with a similar-sized burner. This not only uses heat more efficiently, but also reduces cooking time.

Tip 8: Safety is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year! Put a carbon monoxide detector on your holiday shopping list or check existing detectors to ensure they are working properly.

Tip 9: Turn the oven off a few minutes early to finish cooking your roast beast. As long as the oven door remains closed, enough heat will be stored inside to finish your “Who” feast.

Tip 10: It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. The average household spends about $300 a year on water heating costs. It’s an easy way to be of good cheer and rack up big savings.

Tip 11: Keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose by using weatherstripping and caulk to seal gaps around windows, doors and siding. This will improve your energy efficiency and leave you feeling warm and jolly.

Tip 12: All we want for the holidays is a blue flame on your natural gas range. That blue flame means your stovetop is working properly. A yellow flame is a sign the range may need to be adjusted by a professional.

Friday, December 4, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies honored with EPIC Award by the United Performing Arts Fund

We’re proud to be longtime supporters of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), but this year, our employees really stepped it up. We were recently honored with the EPIC (Exceptional Performance in a Campaign) Award by UPAF. The award, which is not often bestowed, acknowledges participating companies that produce exceptional results from their employee giving campaign. 

While total giving to the UPAF umbrella organization was slightly down this year, due in large part to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, We Energies employees increased their total pledges to UPAF from approximately $135,000 in 2019, to more than $163,000 in 2020. 

“During these very challenging times, UPAF is literally a lifeline for our performing arts,” said Tom Metcalfe, president – We Energies, acknowledging the importance of the award-winning employee support. “UPAF is working closely with each member organization to ensure they are best positioned to get through this pandemic and are able to deliver world-class performances and community engagement in the years ahead.”   

Due in part to the success of the We Energies employee campaign, the communitywide campaign raised approximately $11.7 million. In addition, a dedicated “Kasey's Fund,” named in honor of the daughter of UPAF's outgoing CEO, Deanna Tillisch, raised more than $720,000 to support two community outreach programs that focus on increasing diversity, inclusion and equality within the performing arts.


Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Brighten up your holiday with energy efficient lights

Whether you’re channeling Clark Griswold from the movie “Christmas Vacation” or planning something a little simpler, these easy tips will help you get in the holiday spirit without overloading your outlets … or your energy bill.

Make a list and check it twice. Use the holiday lighting cost calculator on our website to compare your options this season and get an idea of what to expect on your energy bill. 

Hanging 25,000 twinkle lights? Switch to LEDs. They’ll last longer and use less energy compared to incandescent lights.

Take back some time for yourself. Put your holiday lights on a timer. That way, there’s no risk you’ll forget to turn them off when you go to bed and accidentally leave them on all night long. 

Light up that inflatable snowman. Change the lightbulb inside inflatable decorations to an LED bulb, and remember, the motor that keeps those holiday decorations inflated and jolly could also increase your energy costs. 

Save money when you deck the halls. While you’re outside decorating, take the time to replace all of your outdoor lightbulbs with LEDs, including your porch and garage lights. 

Be safe. Don’t overload your outlets or string too many lights together. Make sure to inspect your strands of lights and throw away any that are damaged. 

For more energy efficiency tips, visit our website.