Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meter reader protects public from downed wire

Raul, a meter reader who works out of the Kenosha-Racine Service Center, took appropriate action on July 1 when he noticed a downed wire that was resting on two vehicles parked at a senior assisted-living facility in Kenosha. The wire was one of hundreds that had come down following a storm that hit cities and communities in southeast Wisconsin the evening of June 30.

With the safety of our customers as his top concern, he stopped his meter reading duties to handle the emergency. He taped off the area to prevent anyone from coming in contact with the line and then called our power outage hotline to report the downed wire's location.

He stayed at the site until a crew arrived to make the area safe. While waiting, he had to stop an employee of the senior complex who wanted to duck under the yellow safety tape to get into his car – one of the vehicles under the downed line. He also talked to a group of children who were playing in an adjacent yard, warning them of the dangers of going near the downed wire.

“Safety of others is always more important than reading meters,” Raul said.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AC: leave it on -- or turn it on and off?

Here's a question we hear a lot, especially during heat waves:

Is it better to leave air conditioning running at the same temperature all day -- or turn it off (or raise the temperature) when leaving your home?

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says to turn if off or raise the temperature when you leave.

Turning it off and on saves a fair amount of energy and helps air conditioners work more efficiently, according to ACEEE. While it may seem that air conditioners work harder to cool a space down from 80 to 76 degrees, the units run more efficiently and dehumidify better. If you have central air--or a window unit with a thermostat--you can save energy by setting the thermostat to a higher temperature when you are out. ACEEE estimates that air conditioners use 3 to 5 percent less energy for every degree you raise the thermostat. ACEEE recommends a thermostat setting of 78 degrees or higher when you’re out.

Fans can help, too. Fans don’t cool a room, but the moving air makes you feel more comfortable at a higher temperature, allowing you to set the thermostat higher and help you feel cool while using less energy. Because fans don’t reduce room temperature, remember to turn them off when no one is in the room.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stay safe during hot weather

Hot and humid weather may cause heat-related health problems for anyone who does not have air conditioning or for anyone working outdoors. Children, older adults and anyone on certain medications are especially vulnerable. Some basic tips to stay safe:
  • Go to an air-conditioned building.
  • Use fans.
  • Stay out of sun.
  • Drink plenty of water before you get thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool shade.
  • Eat smaller meals before work activity.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar.
  • Find out from your health-care provider if your medications and heat don't mix.
Also remember to check on relatives and neighbors to make sure they are taking precautions and are doing OK. The Red Cross offers suggestions about what to do and how to recognize and care for heat-related emergencies in a heat wave.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Falcons hatched at 4 power plants

Peregrine falcons hatched at Port Washington Generating Station, Valley Power Plant in Milwaukee, Pleasant Prairie Power Plant and Presque Isle Power Plant. Here's a photo taken soon after the falcons hatched at Port Washington:

Here's how one of them looked about a month after hatching. The names chosen were:

Port Washington Generating Station: Amara and Kilowatt.
Valley Power Plant: Tesla.
Pleasant Prairie Power Plant: Reliable, Zap and Filament.
Presque Isle Power Plant: Phoenix and Spirit.

Learn more about our work with falcons and owls

Friday, July 1, 2011

Work continues to restore power after high winds hit June 30

Since 8 p.m. June 30 we have restored power to more than 28,000 customers in southeast Wisconsin, primarily in Racine and Kenosha counties. Crews are working safely and as quickly as possible to restore service to the more than 18,000 customers who remain out of service, with 16,000 in the Racine and Kenosha areas.

The most extensive damage – downed wires and trees that have fallen into the wires -- is in Racine and Kenosha counties east of highway 31.

We have contract crews working along with our own crews and also expect to have crews from power companies in Iowa and Missouri on site Saturday to help us with the restoration work.

While we continue to successfully bring customers back into service today, we expect some customers in the hardest hit parts of Kenosha County to be out of power throughout the day on Saturday.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to restore service.

Customers are reminded to stay away from any line that’s down and from anything that is touching the line. Don’t assume it’s not a power line and don’t assume it’s not energized.

Please report power outages and any downed wires by calling 800-662-4797.