Thursday, September 18, 2014

Doors Open Milwaukee: See We Energies' Public Service Building

Public Service Building lobby.
Did you know our corporate headquarters building on Michigan Street was once a railroad station? Take a trip down memory lane this weekend as We Energies participates in Doors Open Milwaukee.

See where the first electric interurban passenger trains started rolling through Milwaukee in 1905. Our Public Service Building served as the depot for the interurban system with tracks leading right through the building.

The building’s ornate neoclassical design received national praise for being among the finest in the country at the time. Admirers noted the fine materials, including matched Italian marble and Tiffany windows. In 1995, the building underwent a complete restoration and renovation. In 1998, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors will tour the ornate lobby and Corporate Conference Center. New for 2014 is the grand, art deco auditorium located on the second level. Sit and relax in the auditorium while you enjoy a presentation featuring the building and company history. Informational handouts and the 2013 Cookie Book will be available for visitors.

Where: 231 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee
Saturday, Sept. 20: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 21: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Doors Open Milwaukee

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sneak peek at 2014 We Energies Cookie Book

Holiday cookies in August? Here at We Energies, we’re already elbow deep in cookie dough!

We’re busy preparing the 2014 We Energies Cookie Book, which will be unveiled this November. Our talented food designer, Jennifer Janz, is the genius behind all those tantalizing treats. And Grace Natoli Sheldon is the brilliant photographer behind the lens. Check out the following photos for an inside look at this year’s photo shoot. 

Cookie Book distribution begins Nov. 4. 













Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New tool to fight scammers, recover money

We Energies, a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Corporate Community Partner, and the BBB Serving Wisconsin want consumers to be aware of a new tool to fight the “Green Dot” scam. Victims can get their money refunded, if they act quickly.

The company that issues prepaid Green Dot credit cards, MoneyPak, has launched a new online tool that allows purchasers to request a refund. If the scammer hasn’t already cashed the card, customers may be able to get their money back. For more information, visit moneypak.com.

Don't comply with callers asking for energy bill 
payments using a Green Dot prepaid debit card.
Although reports of the Green Dot scam have decreased at our company, we still receive scattered complaints. Scammers impersonate our employees and threaten disconnection unless the customer makes an immediate payment with a prepaid credit card. We do not solicit payments in this manner. Customers who receive suspicious calls should hang up and call us at 800-242-9137 to check the status of their account.

BBB regularly receives complaints nationwide about the Green Dot scam. Aside from utility customers, scammers also target satellite TV customers and other pre-pay products and services. Green Dot also has been used in lottery and sweepstakes scams, computer repair scams, job scams and more. BBB suggests consumers should:
  • Refuse offers that request payment via prepaid card. 
  • Never disclose their card number to someone they don’t know. 
  • Avoid websites or offers requesting payment specifically via Green Dot. 
  • Never use a Green Dot card to pay taxes or claim “winnings.” 
  • Remember to check companies at bbb.org.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Today is 8-11, same number to call before digging

Call 811 before starting any digging project.

Outdoor projects can turn dangerous if an underground utility line is struck. That’s why it’s important to call 811 (a nationwide number) for Diggers Hotline in Wisconsin or Miss Dig in Michigan at least three days before any project that involves digging. Knowing where utility lines are buried helps protect you and anyone else who may be digging.
You also can go to the Diggers Hotline website or Miss Dig website to request a locate. 
Specialists will visit your site and mark the location of all buried utility facilities  -- natural gas, electric, cable, telecommunications -- on your property within a few working days.

Friday, July 18, 2014

PSCW approves construction of West Central lateral

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) today approved our plans to build an 85-mile natural gas lateral from Eau Claire to Tomah at a project cost of just over $179 million. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015.

We filed plans with the PSCW in March 2013.

The project is designed to address growing demand and to bolster the reliability of our natural gas delivery in western Wisconsin. Ten communities along the proposed route have passed resolutions authorizing us to provide natural gas service within their borders.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Restoration wrap up, answers to questions

Our crews, contractors and support personnel have worked safely and without incident to restore electric service to more than 125,000 customers who lost power when intense storms raked southeastern Wisconsin on Monday evening.

In terms of customers left without electric service, this is the fourth-worst storm in our history and worst since 2005. The main culprit was high winds that snapped branches and uprooted trees, which then brought down poles and power lines, causing extensive damage to our electrical distribution system and leaving a tangled, dangerous mess – particularly in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties.

Thanks to all the customers who remained patient throughout the outage and to our contractor personnel and crews from MGE, Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy for helping us during the restoration.

Answers to some frequently asked questions:

Why couldn’t I get through to report my outage?
We experienced some technical issues with our automated phone system on Monday night that may have been due to the extraordinarily high volume of calls that flooded our system shortly after the storm hit. As a result, many customers were unable to report their outages. The issue was resolved later that evening.

How do you prioritize repair work?
Critical or emergency services are restored first. Then we work to repair situations that will restore power to the greatest number of people in the least amount of time. We work down that list until we reach the more isolated or individual issues. The objective is to restore as many people as possible as soon and as safely as possible. This process inconveniences the greatest number of customers for the least amount of time, but we understand the frustration of being one the customers out the longest.

Why did my estimated time of restoration keep changing?
We make estimates because we want customers to know the approximate time they can expect to have their power restored. The estimate is based on our experience and our understanding of the situation. Once crews arrive at the scene, an estimate may change because of changing priorities or conditions. For instance, a crew may provide an estimate after assessing a situation but may find that repairs are more extensive than anticipated, so they adjust the estimate accordingly. In many instances, they are able to complete work faster than estimated, but sometimes work takes longer than expected.

Why did I not see a crew after being told a crew had been dispatched?
Crews are dispatched to identify, isolate and correct or repair issues on our electric distribution system. The situation that caused you to lose power may have originated a long way from your home. If a crew was dispatched to restore your power, you can be assured they were working on it, even if you could not see them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More than 120,000 customers restored so far

Most outages have been caused by tree damage.
Crews have restored service to more than 120,000 customers since powerful storms rocked southeastern Wisconsin since Monday evening. The number of customers that were impacted by the storm was more than 125,000.

As of early this afternoon, about 4,000 customers are without power, mostly in Waukesha County. We expect to have all or nearly all of those customers restored by later this evening.

You can call 800-662-4797 to get updates and estimates for restoration on specific outages. When you call, we may indicate that a crew is assigned, which means a crew is scheduled to fix the problem but is not yet on the scene and may take a while before it arrives. In some cases, we indicate that a crew has arrived, which means they are making repairs, which may take hours, depending on the extent of repair needed.

In addition to our crews from southeastern Wisconsin and the Fox Valley, we have help from contractor personnel and crews from MGE, Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy. A total of approximately 500 workers are in the field working on the restoration effort.

This is the worst storm to impact our electric distribution system in almost a decade, with widespread damage to poles and wires, much of it caused by trees and branches toppled or snapped by high winds. Based on current information, this storm caused the fourth-most outages of any storm in our history.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of all of our customers who lost their service and especially those who remain without power.

Crews are replacing hundreds of wires and poles.
Prioritization

When we get numerous outages at the same time as in this storm recovery effort, we prioritize our response. First, we address situations that are life-threatening or hazardous, such as a power line on a street. After these situations are addressed, we make equipment repairs that are causing outages to the greatest number of customers. First come transmission lines, then substations, then main distribution lines, then secondary lines to neighborhoods and finally service lines to individual homes and businesses.

Visit our website for our Outage Map and other outage and safety information