Friday, August 11, 2017

Contest winner makes canine cameo in new ad

The winner of our Safe Digging contest, Charlie, got to enjoy the grand unveiling of his winning ad at Energy Park on Aug. 11. The adorable Goldendoodle, along with his owners, Breanne and Jeff Beyer of Kaukauna, helped celebrate 8-11 day -- a day to raise awareness about calling 811, Diggers Hotline.

Charlie sporting a We Energies hard hat.
We asked customers to submit photos of their dogs digging in the yard and received dozens of entries. Charlie received the most votes from the public. Now, he gets to be ambassador for our Safe Digging campaign and spread an important message: Doggone it! Call 811 before you dig.

Charlie and the Beyers of Kaukauna.
Whether you’re planting a tree or installing a mailbox, call 811 at least three days before starting your project to help ensure that you avoid underground utility lines when you dig. You can put yourself in serious danger by striking an underground electric or natural gas line.

You can see Charlie’s winning ad on display at Energy Park throughout the duration of the Wisconsin State Fair. For his effort, Charlie also earned a basket of goodies, including dog treats and a special 811 frisbee.

Safe digging tips

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lamb purchased at Governor’s Blue Ribbon Auction supports youth in agriculture

We have been presenting games and demonstrations on energy generation, distribution and safety at Energy Park, our exhibition center at the Wisconsin State Fair since the start of the fair on Aug. 3. We also have hosted cooking and gardening lessons to help visitors enjoy Wisconsin’s agricultural bounty, as well as birds of prey shows with the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

But we’re not just exhibitors at the fair – we’re also guests, appreciating the effort that goes into the achievements on display. We Energies and its sister company Wisconsin Public Service work directly with many Wisconsin farmers to supply agricultural energy services, including the electricity needed for dairy and livestock farms’ lighting and cooling systems.

“We work with customers for on-farm wiring safety, rewiring, energy efficiency and any needs they may have as they look to build another barn, or change some of their electrical system and upgrade it,” said Jason Kollwelter, manager – agriculture services and customer-owned generation, in a recent interview with Lake Effect’s Mitch Teich.

We also show our support for the agricultural community in other ways. On Aug. 9, we participated in the 49th annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Auction at the fair. The auction celebrates the strength of Wisconsin’s livestock industry and the accomplishments of junior exhibitors planning for a future in agriculture. The We Energies Foundation entered the winning bid for a champion natural colored lamb exhibited by Brady Meudt of Walworth County. We then donated the lamb back to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction Scholarship Fund.

This year’s auction raised a total of $267,000 for the individual exhibitors, the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation and youth scholarship awards. We’re glad to have contributed, and we hope to see many more of our customers before the fair ends on Sunday night.

Exhibitor Brady Meudt (front) with his champion lamb. In back (left to right): Scott Lauber, director – We Energies Foundation board; Bob Juneau, senior agriculture account manager, WPS; Beth Straka, vice president – We Energies Foundation; Brad Brusveen, senior agriculture account manager, We Energies; Corey Kuchta, supervisor – agriculture services and customer-owned generation, WPS; and Jason Kollwelter, manager – agriculture services and customer-owned generation, We Energies.

Monday, July 31, 2017

And the winner is…

It was a “ruff” competition, but the winner of our Safe Digging contest is: Charlie!

Charlie's winning picture.
Charlie’s picture earned the most votes in our online contest where more than 2,000 votes were cast. 

Charlie, a Goldendoodle, captured the majority – 17 percent. Charlie’s owners, Breanne and Jeff Beyer of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, tell us Charlie is about 5 months old and loves to get into mischief and dig in the yard.

“Jeff is a landscape foreman, so we have a lot of landscaping to tempt him,” Breanne said. 

Jeff’s job also means the family is very familiar with calling 811, making Charlie a “qualified” canine safety ambassador. 

“Jeff is obviously familiar with calling Diggers Hotline before working,” Breanne said. 

Our new canine safety ambassador, Charlie.
Stay tuned for Charlie’s Safe Digging ad, which will be unveiled at Energy Park at the Wisconsin State Fair on Aug. 11 (8-11) ‒ a day to raise awareness about dialing 811 three days before you dig.

Charlie will help us spread an important safety message: Doggone it! Call Diggers Hotline (811) before you dig. 

Charlie also will get a basket of doggy treats. Congrats to Charlie and the Beyer family and thanks to all the pet owners who submitted photos in our contest. Our first runner up, BW, also "dug up" a lot of votes. 

Runner-up, BW.
Safe digging tips

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cookie Crumbs: Cheer on Festa Italiana with sesame seed cookies

We Energies Cookie Book recipes are perfect for celebrations of all kinds. No matter the occasion, you’ll find a recipe that’s just right.

July 21 marks the beginning of Festa Italiana. The first ethnic festival launched in Milwaukee and the largest Italian-American event of its kind, Festa Italiana is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Visitors this weekend will enjoy delicious Italian cuisine, traditional games and dances, music, historical exhibits and more. Italian cooking can help you get into the Festa spirit at any time of year.

With a blend of savory and sweet flavors, these Italian sesame seed cookies are a wonderful complement to a cappuccino. The recipe was submitted to us by Giacomo Fallucca, president and CEO of Palermo’s Pizza, who calls Milwaukee home. Fallucca contributed to our 2016 Cookie Book, the Wisconsin Heritage edition, which featured recipes from many notable names in Wisconsin entertainment, culture, business and industry.

Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
Italian Sesame Seed Cookie

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon anise extract, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon anise extract; mix well. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture; mix well. Shape small amounts of dough into 1/2-inch logs; cut into 2-inch-long pieces. Place sesame seeds in shallow bowl. In separate shallow bowl, combine milk and 1/8 teaspoon anise extract. Roll pieces in milk mixture, then coat in sesame seeds. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire cooling racks. Makes about 7 dozen.

Need more baking inspiration? Our Cookie Book archive has recipes dating back to the 1930s. Go online and find your new favorite today!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Employees, foundation aid Burlington-area residents

In the wake of last week's flooding in the Burlington, Wisconsin, area, We Energies employees participated in two multi-agency resource center events this week to aid customers affected by the flooding. In addition, the We Energies Foundation made a $10,000 donation to the local American Red Cross chapter to aid in the agency's efforts to provide shelter and other goods and services to those displaced by the flooding.

Last week's flooding caused severe damage to a We Energies substation in Burlington that left numerous customers without power until mobile transformers could be brought in and energized. The substation was repaired earlier this week and returned to normal operation on July 18.

Burlington-area residents had the opportunity to seek information and assistance from Red Cross workers (in vests) and We Energies employees, such as Ron Bormann (far left), Robbin Bankhead and Phyllis Eckles of Customer Service and Operations, at two multi-agency resource center events held earlier this week to address issues residents may be facing in the wake of severe flooding in the region.

Resource centers were established at Burlington High School in Racine County on July 18 and at Riverview Elementary School in Kenosha County on July 19. At the events, employees addressed inquires about having service restored after work was completed, possible bill extensions due to additional expenses customers are facing and assistance in purchasing new appliances. Employees provided 211 information as an additional resource for social service needs and weatherization information for income-qualifying customers.

A We Energies Foundation donation to the local chapter of the American Red Cross contributed to the following goods and services, as reported by the agency: 
  • 2 shelters
  • 3 bulk distribution sites
  • 353 meals served
  • 1,415 snacks served
  • 1,611 cleanup kits distributed
  • 3,336 bulk items distributed (bleach, masks, heavy-duty brooms, etc.)
  • 162 volunteers and staff assisting on operation
  • 29 vehicles deployed, including 13 chapter-owned vehicles and 4 emergency response vehicles
  • 101 cases opened to provide one-on-one support to families
  • 261 people served through casework
  • 14 disaster health contacts
  • 137 disaster mental health contacts
A Red Cross representative thanked We Energies for the foundation gift and provided an update on their efforts:
"I want to thank all of you for the kind donation to support our disaster operation in southeast Wisconsin the past few days. It looks like it will continue this week. We should be able to close one shelter tomorrow and just leave one open. We have delivered thousands of clean up kits and items. Two semi-trailers are in our parking lot as a lot of supplies have arrived for the operation. This will continue this week and our casework will continue for many weeks." 

11 finalists unveiled in 811 contest

We asked for pictures of digging dogs, and you delivered. Our Safe Digging contest fetched dozens of entries. It was “ruff” narrowing down the list of finalists, but nearly a dozen dogs made the cut:

Now, “paws” to vote for your favorite. The winner will be featured in our Safe Digging campaign, including a grand unveiling at Energy Park at the Wisconsin State Fair.

The winner will help us spread an important safety message: Doggone it! Call 811 before you dig.

Finalists, don’t “fur-get” to tell family and friends to vote by 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 30. The winner will be announced the following day. Good luck and thank you to all who submitted photos.

Safe digging tips

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Burlington substation repairs completed ahead of schedule

We thank our customers in Burlington for their patience during repairs to our substation, and we’re happy to report the station is already back online. Fortunately, our repair work was seamless – we did not have to de-energize our system during repairs, and customers wouldn’t have noticed any changes in their service.

Crews were able to complete very complicated repairs to the substation, which was submerged in more than two feet of flood water last week, in just three days – much sooner than initially anticipated.

Before and after pictures of our substation in Burlington.

While substation repairs were being completed, Burlington customers had electricity served through mobile transformers. Though no longer necessary, the mobile units remain on site until the nearby Fox River recedes further. 

Getting the substation back on line was no small task. We had more than 50 employees dedicated to the effort. They had to replace damaged equipment and perform dozens of switching operations in our distribution network.

Unlike the light switches at your home, the switches at our substation are connected to multiple wires so we can reroute power when necessary. These redundancies are built into our system to minimize the impact of outages.

Crews had to perform more than 30 intricate switching operations to connect customers to the mobile transformers. After repairs, they had to perform all those operations again to reconnect customers to the substation. To minimize stress to our system during this delicate process, some of our larger industrial customers in the area agreed to curtail their electric use temporarily.