Monday, January 19, 2015

Fleet adds hybrid bucket trucks

We recently added two hybrid bucket trucks to our fleet. The new trucks were purchased from Waukesha, Wisconsin-based Dueco Inc. and are equipped with Odyne plug-in hybrid systems that feature lithium-ion battery packs, manufactured by Glendale, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls Inc.

The hybrid systems are operating on a Terex TC55 line construction truck mounted on a Lakeside International Trucks chassis that will be used in everyday line work and on a Terex SC45 trouble truck that will perform driving and service work. The hybrid systems offer several advantages over traditional diesel or gasoline engines, including:
  • Up to 50 percent lower fuel consumption
  • Reduced emissions
  • Quieter operation at work sites
Both trucks are equipped with diagnostics to measure the performance of the hybrid trucks relative to others in our fleet.

Related coverage:
WDJT 58

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration includes winners of our annual speech contest

Finalists presented speeches Dec. 6 at our Public Service Building.
Milwaukee hosts its 31st Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Jan. 18 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. We’re been part of the event since its inception.

Part of the celebration features winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech contest that we sponsor in December each year. Through this program, we strive to help strengthen the reading, writing and public speaking skills of Milwaukee students while encouraging them to learn about and support the hopes and dreams of Dr. King.

In the contest, Milwaukee schools first host competitions within their own schools, choosing the best to participate in a preliminary competition to determine five finalists in each of six grade categories – K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12. Those finalists are part of the event we sponsor at our headquarters to select first-, second- and third-place winners in each grade category.

Marissa Robertson, first-place winner
in grade 11-12 competition.
Winners receive a medallion, plaque, gift cards and an appearance at this weekend’s celebration. As an added bonus, the Milwaukee Bucks are honoring the three winners in each division with a center-court appearance at the Jan. 19 game. Media opportunities also are extended to winners. Marissa Robertson, first-place winner in the grade 11-12 category recently was featured on Milwaukee Public Television’s Black Nouveau program: MPTV Black Nouveau (Robertson segments begins at 13:02)

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. contest is open to all students who live in Milwaukee as well as any students who attend Milwaukee public, private, charter or home schools. Visit our website for details: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Contest

AGA produces video to help consumers understand natural gas bills

The American Gas Association recently released a short video that explains the main components of natural gas bills.



Learn more about AGA

Friday, January 2, 2015

Be ready for severe cold weather

Our energy distribution systems are built to withstand severe cold, but equipment problems, wildlife damage, high winds, accidents and other causes can knock out power at any time of the year. As always, be prepared to stay safe -- especially during severe cold.

Preparing for power outages
Add our numbers to your cell phone:
  • Power outage or electrical emergency: 800-662-4797
  • Natural gas leak, odor or emergency: 800-261-5325
Assemble an emergency kit and put it where it’s easy to find in the dark. Suggested items:
  • Flashlights, extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Bottled water — half gallon a day per person
  • Battery-operated radio, extra batteries
  • Canned/dried food, hand-operated can opener
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Special items for infants, seniors or disabled family members
Other considerations:
  • Check on others, especially seniors or anyone with medical conditions
  • Keep pets safe
  • Keep electronic devices, especially cell phones, charged
  • Find out where area emergency shelters are located if you need to leave your home

Coping with power outages
  • Report and get updates on your outage by calling 800-662-4797
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
  • Use manual operation of garage door
  • Dress in layers to stay warm.
  • Use battery-operated lights rather than candles
  • Unplug or turn off appliances to avoid overloading when power is restored
  • Leave a single light on to alert you when power is restored
  • If you are the only home without power, check your breakers or fuses
  • Close blinds or drapes and avoid opening doors to retain heat
  • Use a generator safely to power your furnace
  • Use a properly vented fireplace or wood-burning stove, if you have one
  • Do not use outdoor grills, kerosene heaters or camping heaters
  • Go to safe shelter if your home becomes extremely cold

Ensuring meter safety
Keeping meters clear of snow and ice allows for safer operation for you and access for us to service meters in case of emergency. If snow piles up, remember these tips:
  • Keep meters clear of snow and ice 
  • Use a brush to gently remove snow from meters
  • Be careful not to bury a meter when using a snow thrower or shovel
  • Remove icicles that may drip water on a natural gas meter and interfere with flow 

Avoiding downed power lines
Winter storms, extremely cold temperatures and snow can damage power lines. Downed power lines may still have electricity running through them. There’s no way to tell if they don’t. Many people think a power line will jump, spark or hum on the ground if it is energized. Downed power lines may appear motionless and harmless, but often are silent and deadly.

Responding to natural gas leaks and outages
Natural gas outages are rare; however, equipment failures, digging damage, natural disasters and other causes can disrupt service at any time. Damaged meters and corroded appliance connectors can cause leaks, so we add a foul odor to help detection. If you smell the odor:
  • Leave immediately – do not turn on light switches or use phone
  • Call us at 800-261-5325 from another location

Additional winter weather safety resources
American Red Cross
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Employee pledges an important part of $2.2 million United Way commitment

At the close of the United Way employee campaign last month, our employees had raised $687,546 for United Ways and their partner agencies and programs across the We Energies service area, but employee contributions are only part of the story. The We Energies Foundation provided a gift of nearly $1.25 million to the various United Ways that serve our service area, including Greater Milwaukee. In addition, campaign events raised $158,533, in-kind donations were estimated at $77,000 and retired employees contributed $33,647, for a grand total contribution of $2,202,791.

“This shows a huge commitment to the community on the part of our employees and our organization,” says Kevin Fletcher, senior vice president – customer operations and executive sponsor of the 2014 employee campaign. “We put a lot of effort into caring for customers with regard to their needs for safe and reliable natural gas and electric service, but this shows a commitment to ensure their other needs are met as well. Whether in our role as a provider of energy service or in our role as a friend and neighbor, through efforts such as the United Way campaign, we continue to show we care.”


More scams reported

We Energies customers continue to be targeted by scammers.

Green Dot
Under the Green Dot scam, customers receive phone calls from scammers posing as We Energies utility employees and are told their service will be disconnected unless they make an immediate payment. They are told to purchase a Green Dot or other type of prepaid debit card, load the card with money, and then provide the card number over the phone. If you receive a call like this, hang up and contact We Energies at 800-242-9137 or your local police department.

Impersonators
Scammers have been impersonating We Energies employees in the field and approaching customers at their homes. Again, using the threat of disconnection or other reasons, the scammers are demanding immediate payments and are using scanning devices to swipe customers’ debit or credit cards. We Energies does NOT collect payments of any kind in the field. Scammers also may ask to enter the home to check electrical or natural gas equipment.

These scammers may use fake We Energies identification cards, making the scammers appear legitimate. To remain safe and avoid falling victim, call us to verify if an employee is at your property. You can confirm an employee’s identity by calling 800-242-9137. When in doubt, do not let a stranger into your home.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cookie Book distribution events for 2014 end

2014 Cookie Book (PDF)
Distribution events for our 2014 Cookie Book ended Nov. 19.

However, you can download a copy of the 2014 Cookie Book as well as previous editions of the book on our website.

Cookie Books and other recipes