Friday, April 17, 2015

Thank you to our line mechanics

April 18 is National Lineman Appreciation Day, a time to recognize the contributions of the men and women who keep the lights on for our customers.

The U.S. Senate designated April 18 as National Linemen Appreciation Day two years ago with a special resolution. Senate Resolution 95 is a resolution “recognizing linemen, the profession of linemen, the contributions of these brave men and women who protect public safety, and expressing support for the designation of April 18 as National Lineman Appreciation Day.”

“Our linemen are the backbone of our company,” said Kevin Fletcher, our senior vice president – customer operations. “These men and women work around the clock in all types of weather to ensure our customers have power. We can’t thank them enough for the important and dangerous work they do, putting their lives on the line to protect public safety and keep our system intact.”

Learn more about the work of our line mechanics and troubleshooters:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Peregrine falcons lay eggs at all 6 nest boxes

Webcam image of the recently laid egg at our 
Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan. 
All six of our power plant nest boxes now have peregrine falcon eggs. 

The resident female at our Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan, laid her first egg this morning. 

Eggs also are present at five other power plants – Pleasant Prairie, Port Washington, Oak Creek, Valley and Milwaukee County. If a full clutch is achieved at each site, we could see a total 24 chicks born this spring.

Learn more about our peregrine falcons and view hourly snapshots on our website:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Employee helps rescue family stranded in floodwater

Customer Service Technician Steve Wesolowski helped 
rescue a woman and her three children from this minivan.
Our crews never know what they’ll encounter out in the field.

Take Customer Service Technician Steve Wesolowski, for instance. Last Thursday, torrential downpours led to flash flooding in some areas. Wesolowski was returning to our Menomonee Falls Service Center when he came upon a minivan floating in floodwater on Kaul Avenue in Menomonee Falls. He could see a frantic woman and three children inside.

Wesolowski immediately pulled over and called 911 while a second passerby helped carry the children to safety. The family was scared, cold and wet. Wesolowski placed them inside his heated We Energies vehicle to keep them warm until the fire department arrived. The family was relieved and appreciative of his efforts.

“That minivan easily could’ve tipped over, leaving the family trapped inside,” he said. “I’m grateful that I drove by when I did.”

CBS-58 video and story

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Customers urged to stay connected

Wisconsin moratorium on shut-offs ends April 16

We are urging customers who are behind on their energy bills to catch up before the end of the moratorium on winter shut-offs. Customers in significant arrears are at risk of disconnection starting April 16.

We have been calling customers and sending bill inserts to alert customers who are behind on their energy bills.

Unfortunately, scammers have been known to prey on customers during this time of the year. A common ploy demands immediate payment via prepaid debit card. We do not solicit payments in this manner. Customers who receive suspicious phone calls or emails should contact us directly to verify their account status.

Customers having problems paying their bills are encouraged to contact us as soon as possible at 800-842-4565. A minimum payment option and flexible payment plans may be available.

Some customers also may qualify for energy assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). There is no charge to determine eligibility or to apply for assistance. Customers can learn more about energy assistance at the WHEAP website or by calling 866-432-8947.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Scam reports pick up

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen more customers calling to report scam attempts.

They’re describing the same scheme that we’ve previously issued warnings about: Scammers call and impersonate our employees and threaten disconnection unless the customer makes an immediate payment with a prepaid Green Dot stored value 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.

Fortunately, few customers have fallen victim to the prepaid card scam that has been around for a couple of years. Reports of the scam died down for several months, but lately they’ve picked up. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) regularly receives complaints nationwide about the scam. Aside from utility customers, scammers also target satellite and cable TV customers and other pre-pay products and services.

We continue to work with the BBB and Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to continue raising awareness.

Fox6 news story

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We Energies employees, mobile substation rescue Escanaba

Thanks to the concern and quick action of our employees at the Wolverine Service Center in Iron Mountain, Michigan, the power is back on in Escanaba, following a significant fault on a city-owned distribution substation that occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 2, taking nearly one-third of the city’s customers out of power.

Our employees, concerned about the customers of the neighboring utility, responded by coordinating the loan of a portable substation to the City of Escanaba Electric Department until permanent repairs can be made to its facilities.

“Even though we don’t serve them, we placed ourselves in those customers’ shoes,” said John Estes, senior service manager at Wolverine, who coordinated much of the activity between the city, American Transmission Company and the engineering contractors. “There was extensive damage to the substation, and the city had instituted rolling blackouts to serve customers – many of whom rely on electric service for their heat. So, we reached out to the city utility.”

We contacted the City of Escanaba Electric Department later in the morning with the offer of the mobile substation, which includes the transformer, circuit breaker and control equipment. Led by Electric Operations’ Richard Larson, senior engineer; Jeff Michaud, operations manager; Jim Tefft, operations supervisors, and Power Generations’ Dan Wrock, supervisor, about a dozen of our employees worked 16 hours to connect, test and put the substation into service. Thanks to their concern and quick action, customers were out of power for just more than 24 hours.

The mobile substation on the trailer (to the left of the poles) helped avoid a much longer power outage for many of the municipal utility customers in Escanaba, Michigan.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Keep natural gas meters, vents clear of snow, ice

When snowfall is heavy, remember to keep your furnace vents and natural gas meters clear of snow and ice.

Keeping furnace intake and exhaust vents clear of snow and ice is an important safety precaution to prevent build up of carbon monoxide inside homes and buildings. A blocked vent also can affect the performance of the furnace, which may not run properly or at all when the intake or exhaust vent is blocked.

As for natural gas meters, you may not think about that often, but we ask that you keep your meter clear of snow and ice for safety. Accumulated snow and ice place stress on meter piping, which can damage equipment and cause a gas leak. Keeping the meter clear also allows our employees to properly service the meter in case of emergency and keeps it visible to snowplows when those meters are in close proximity to alleys or other areas subject to plowing.

To avoid meter problems:
  • Keep meters clear of snow and ice; make sure snow isn't covering meter. 
  • Always shovel away from meter. 
  • Take care when using snow thrower or plow near meter. 
  • Use a broom to clear snow and ice from equipment. 
  • Avoid kicking or hitting meter to break away built-up snow or ice. 
  • Remove icicles that may drip water onto meter.