Thursday, October 11, 2018

Energy assistance now available

Customers now can apply for energy assistance for the upcoming heating season.


It is simple to make an appointment to apply for energy assistance. Visit the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) website at homeenergyplus.wi.gov or call 866-432-8947.

Milwaukee County residents can apply for assistance in person at Community Advocates or United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS). Visit keepwarmmke.org or call 414-270-4653 for more information.

WHEAP provides qualified residents with a one-time grant to help pay energy bills. Qualification is based on income level, not on whether someone is behind on paying their energy bills.

Households with income at or below 60% of the Wisconsin state median income may be eligible for WHEAP. For example, a family of four that earns up to $52,846 per year may qualify.

Applicants must provide:
  • Photo ID for applicant including name and address. 
  • Proof of income for all household members for previous three months. 
  • Social Security numbers and birthdates for everyone in the household. 
  • Current energy bill or account number. 
  • Phone number of landlord and rent certificate or statement (if applicant is a renter and heat is included in rent or a separate payment is made to the landlord). 
  • The prior year’s entire tax package for seasonal employees and self-employed persons. Rental income must be verified by taxes and Schedule E. 

WHEAP provides assistance to more than 200,000 Wisconsin families annually.

Customers with questions about their energy bills or payment options should call our payment assistance line at 800-842-4565.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We Energies sponsors third year of China Lights

China Lights has returned for its third year at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners. We are sponsoring the event once again as part of our commitment to supporting arts and culture in the communities we serve. Last year’s event sold out, attracting more than 100,000 visitors.



The gardens are illuminated by more than 40 handmade lantern sculptures, each assembled on-site by artisans from China. With the theme of Panda-Mania, this year’s festival features many new lanterns shaped like pandas, other endangered creatures and their environments. Visitors can take a walking tour through the displays, and children can swing and step on lights in a pair of interactive exhibits.



Two concession areas offer Asian and Western cuisine, and in the marketplace, vendors make and sell traditional Chinese handicrafts and gifts. A parade at about 6:15 p.m. every evening leads guests through the gardens. Following the parade, stages sponsored by our company host a variety of live performances, including spinning tops, Chinese string instruments, juggling, masked dances and martial arts demonstrations.

China Lights runs through Oct. 21 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and is closed to the public on Mondays. Learn more about the event, including information on tickets and parking, at chinalights.org.

Monday, October 1, 2018

We Energies Foundation backs sturgeon release

Nearly 1,000 young lake sturgeon were added to the Lake Michigan ecosystem Sept. 29 as part of Sturgeon Fest 2018. The sturgeon were tagged before release to provide information about their lifecycle as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen sturgeon population.

The prehistoric fish once numbered millions in Lake Michigan but were decimated through intense fishing. In recent years, sturgeon have been making a comeback, with a little help from some friends. The We Energies Foundation is a longtime supporter of the Riveredge Nature Center’s lake sturgeon reintroduction project and Sturgeon Fest.

Sturgeon Fest celebrates Riveredge Nature Center’s 25-year partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to bring the sturgeon back to the Milwaukee River, where they haven’t been seen for more than a century.

Lakeshore State Park in downtown Milwaukee was the scene for the Sturgeon Fest release, an annual event that also includes games and crafts for kids, educational booths and food trucks.

“Supporting this sturgeon initiative aligns directly with our foundation’s environment and education focus areas,” said Tom Jansen, a manager in WEC Energy Group’s Environmental department and a Riveredge board member, who attended the event. “The event improves the environment and helps raise awareness about this threatened species.” 

The We Energies Foundation’s environment focus supports environmental education, resource preservation and conservation programs that guide communities in its service area toward a sustainable future.

We Energies is a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group. 

Related links:

Sturgeon Fest attendees at Lake Shore State Park lined the park's banks to watch the sturgeon release.

One of the young sturgeon prior to release.

Nearly 1,000 young sturgeon were brought to the park for release in Lake Michigan.

Richard Gonzalez, a member of the Oneida Nation, Iroquois Confederation, Turtle Clan, 
conducted a blessing and released one of the sturgeon.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

We Energies to sell Solvay Coke site to Komatsu

In a joint arrangement among We Energies, the City of Milwaukee and Komatsu Mining Corp., 43 acres of the Milwaukee Solvay Coke site, owned by We Energies since 2017, is to be sold to Komatsu. The signing of a term sheet for the sale was announced at an on-site event co-hosted by the three parties Sept. 27, that was attended by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as well as members of the Board of Harbor Commissioners, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and Milwaukee 7 (M7) regional development organization.

From left: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Kamatsu Mining CEO and President Jeffrey Dawes,
WEC Energy Group Chairman and CEO Gale Klappa, Milwaukee Development Corp. Treasurer Frank Krejci,
and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
At the event, Jeffrey Dawes, president and CEO of Komatsu Mining, announced the mining company’s plans to develop the property with a nearly $300 million investment in a new corporate headquarters and manufacturing campus. With a 134-year history in the city, Dawes described the importance of the project to the mining company’s long-term growth strategy.

WEC Energy Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gale Klappa, speaking on behalf of We Energies and the M7, added “Komatsu – a global industry leader – is making a major investment that will have a defining impact on Milwaukee’s future. And I’m particularly pleased that Komatsu has chosen to invest in the redevelopment of this area, adding another strong presence to the Harbor District.

“Today’s announcement also highlights how attractive our region is to global companies and the remarkable asset we have in our workforce,” Klappa continued. “Today is a shining example of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together for the common good. Go, Komatsu. And On Wisconsin!”
 
WEC Energy Group Chairman and CEO Gale Klappa
In addition to the new Komatsu facility, the sale supports the city’s development of approximately 2 acres of the site for a planned riverwalk nearby and provides for public access to the waterfront.

The site, which had been used for a variety of industrial processes, such as coke and manufactured gas production, as well as coal and coke storage since the late 1880s, was put up for sale by its previous owner in 2016. As one of several past tenants identified as responsible for remediation of the site, We Energies purchased the property and worked jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to remove and recycle tens of thousands of tons of debris from the property, including rubber, asphalt, steel and crushed concrete.

We Energies will continue to remediate the site through 2019. Completion of the sale is anticipated in 2020.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ellie spreads safe digging message on 8-11 day

Ellie, who was voted top dog in our recent safe digging contest, is spreading an important message for 8-11 day, a day devoted to raising awareness about calling 811 before digging projects. Ellie's new promotional ad will be featured on electronic billboards around the Milwaukee area on 8-11 day.



In addition to having their dog featured in our ad, Ellie’s family also received tickets to the Wisconsin State Fair where they can see Ellie’s promotional material on display at Energy Park. If you stop by Energy Park, you can get your picture taken with an Ellie cut-out to help spread the message about safe digging. 


Ellie's cut-out at Energy Park
Whether you’re planting a tree, installing fence posts or doing digging for other reasons, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas or electric line. Doggone it! Call 811 before you dig. A utility locating service will come out to mark locations of underground utilities on your property for free. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Ellie becomes new canine safe digging ambassador

Ellie, a 4-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier/Whippet mix, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, was voted top dog in our contest to find a new canine safe digging ambassador. She will help spread an important message about safe digging in a new promotional ad:


Customers sent about 100 photos of dogs digging in their yards. After paring down the entries to 10 finalists, we conducted a public vote on Facebook. More than 1,400 people voted. Ellie garnered the most votes, followed closely by Tucker, of Appleton. Congratulations to all of our finalists, and thank you to all who participated.

Runner-up Tucker
In addition to having their dog featured in our ad, Ellie’s family also received tickets to the Wisconsin State Fair where they can see Ellie’s promotional material on display at Energy Park. If you stop by Energy Park, you can get your picture taken with an Ellie cut-out to help spread the message about safe digging. 
Ellie's cut-out at Energy Park
Ellie also will be sharing her important message on We Energies’ Facebook and Twitter channels. On Aug. 11, her ad will be featured on digital billboards in the Milwaukee area for 8-11 day, which raises awareness about safe digging. Remember, 811 is the number to call at least three days before you dig. A utility locating service will come out to mark locations of underground utilities on your property for free. 

Whether you’re planting a tree, installing fence posts or doing digging for other reasons, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas or electric line. Doggone it! Call 811 before you dig.

More information about working safely in your yard

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Employee’s ’unbearable’ experience goes viral

Imagine waking in the middle of the night to find a bear trapped at your house.

“It was around 1 a.m. on June 20, and my wife and I heard this sound like, ‘Ma! Ma!’” recalled Steve Sickler, an expediting clerk at our service center in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin.

Sickler followed the sound to a construction project at his Eagle River home. Inside the foundation for a new sun room, he found a stranded bear cub.

“I always knew we had bears in the area, but never saw one near our home until that night.”  

The cub had fallen into the foundation and was frantically calling to its mother. Eager to avoid a confrontation with the adult bear, Sickler wisely stayed inside and called 911. The Vilas County Sheriff’s Department dispatched a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warden to the site. 

While waiting for the warden to arrive, Sickler and his wife watched the distraught mother bear pacing back and forth outside their home for over an hour. Meanwhile, the mom’s two other cubs were waiting in a nearby tree.

Sickler had a hunch the cub may climb up a ladder, if he could lower one into the foundation. When the DNR warden arrived, they agreed on the game plan. Within seconds of lowering the ladder, the cub climbed to the top. 


“This was a million to one thing. I’ll never see anything like this again.”

The rescue, which was captured on video, has since gone viral. Sickler has seen it picked up by news sites in England, Australia, India, Iran and Israel. Here in the U.S., stations in Texas, Florida, California and many more have posted the video. And, of course, Wisconsin media outlets have been especially interested. Stations in Rhinelander and Wausau interviewed the Sicklers.

“It blows me away. We finally get our 15 minutes of fame. Well, this is well beyond 15 minutes.”

Link to WJFW story

Link to WSAW story