Friday, December 28, 2012

Flashback Friday: Women join workforce in WWI

World War I opened many nontraditional jobs for women. Between 1914 and 1917, more than 600 "Electric Company" employees entered the military. Most of their jobs were filled by women.

Across the U.S., about 1.6 million women joined the workforce between 1914 and 1918, filling positions in government, transportation, factories, post offices, businesses and agriculture. Many worked in munitions factories, which employed as many as 950,000 women.

While many women worked to provide for their families while their men were at war, others worked just to help the nation succeed in the war. Women also bought Liberty bonds, and observed days for conserving food, as well as abiding by numerous laws to aid the war effort.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pipeline inspection project reaches milestone

We recently completed a major milestone in a natural gas pipeline inspection project, having inspected nearly 139 miles of high-pressure pipeline in the our most populated, urban service areas.

Mandated by the federal government in 2004, owners of natural gas pipelines are required to assess the integrity of their pipelines in areas where a rupture to the line could cause the most harm, endangering customer safety and disrupting system reliability. We met the mandate’s deadline – to complete and report on the assessments by Dec. 17, 2012.

The federal mandate was issued prior to the natural gas-related explosion in 2010 in San Bruno, Calif.

“While we have consistently performed leak surveys and other safety checks on our system, the work associated with this requirement is much more comprehensive as we dig up and physically look at the pipeline,” said Russ Ackerman, supervising engineer – gas operations. “Developing and executing a proactive plan to meet the requirement helps us identify potential problems and address them immediately.”

Use of “smart pig” technology greatly aided the inspection process. The pigs – large pieces of equipment that move along the inside of a pipeline at about 3 to 5 mph – check the physical condition of a pipeline for corrosion, debris and geometric shape. The smart pigs were used to inspect nearly 25 percent of our gas transmission mains as part of the integrity management program.

As a result of the comprehensive inspection project, various components in the natural gas pipeline system were replaced and improved. Throughout the multiyear process, customer service was not disrupted.

Employees deliver holiday spirit to local families in need

Employees from our Pewaukee Customer Care Center and Wholesale Energy and Fuels department brought the holiday spirit to families in need this season through the Adopt-a-Family programs of the Salvation Army of Waukesha and Journey House Center for Family Learning and Youth Athletics, respectively.

Our Pewaukee employees “adopted” a mother and her three children, while the Wholesale employees “adopted” two separate families, each with two adults and three children. Pewaukee employees have participated in the Salvation Army’s program for the past nine years, and Wholesale employees have participated in Journey House since 2008. Employees purchased gifts from the families’ lists, such as clothing and toys, or donated money for the purchase of gifts.

An excerpt from the profile of one of the families benefiting from this employee generosity highlights the need:

“I am Lucero’s teacher. She came to Journey House eight years ago when she was first married. Her husband was in a fatal car accident. I remember the funeral. She did not return to school until this year. She is married with three children. She will complete her GED in Spanish by June 2013. She is very smart and determined to make a good life for herself and children. She is in my English language class and is an excellent student.

“She recently found out that her son has autism, but this does not deter her from her goals.

“She also cleans an office every night for three hours @ $8 per hour.


In a separate activity, employees from our various locations in Pewaukee collected food to stock the shelves of the Food Pantry of Waukesha County. The team collected 10 large boxes and six large bags of food. In addition, a $260 donation was made that the food pantry used to purchase more items.

Journey House is a community-based opportunity oasis where men, women and children on Milwaukee’s diverse Near South Side can build vital academic, employment and life skills to reach their goals.

Salvation Army is an action-oriented Christian church and social service organization that was founded in London, England, in 1865. For the past 110 years, Salvation Army has demonstrated its ability to "meet human need at the point of need" through various programs in Waukesha.

Food Pantry of Waukesha County advocates to increase awareness of hunger in the community and promotes collaborative action to provide food to those in need.

Meter reader helps customer avoid carbon monoxide problem


Debbora Oldenberg, a meter reader at our Burlington Service Center, was on her rounds recently when she noticed a foul odor in the neighborhood. She tracked the odor to the furnace exhaust at a residence and reported it.

Mike Middlecamp, one of our distribution fitters, arrived a short time later and found that the furnace was producing more than 10,000 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide.

The customer was not home, so the fitter turned off the gas meter and left a note for the customer.

Later in the day, another distribution fitter returned to the home to check on the situation and found a contractor installing a new furnace.

Oldenberg’s actions and concern, and the follow through by our fitters may well have saved this customer’s life if that amount of carbon monoxide had leaked into the house.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Restoration continues in aftermath of winter storm

A winter storm entered our service area early Thursday, Dec. 20, and moved in an easterly direction throughout the day and evening. We've had an opportunity to review all of the data  -- more than 100,000 of our customers were impacted by this severe snow storm. We've been able to restore more than 90 percent of the customers who were affected. Of the remaining 5,600 customers who are without power, the vast majority are in the West Bend, Menomonee Falls and Watertown areas. We expect virtually all of our customers outside of those hard-hit areas to be restored tonight.

We have seen more extensive damage in the West Bend, Menomonee Falls and Watertown areas -- more trees down, more wires down, more damaged equipment.

Given the extent of the damage, we expect our crews will be working through late Saturday to restore service.

Our first priority in any restoration is to remove hazards – primarily live wires. Ensuring customer and public safety is our first priority. Stay away – and keep pets away – from any line that’s on the ground or hanging within reach. Always assume any line is a power line and that it’s energized. Report a downed line or an outage to our hotline: 800-662-4797.

After the hazards are addressed, we immediately address outages involving large numbers of customers, bringing big groups of customers back on line at the same time. Then we address smaller, more isolated and single outages. These take the longest to repair as we are literally going from one address to the next to determine the problem and fix it. In many cases we find considerable tree damage that has to be removed before we can get at the lines to make repairs.

We’ve put all of our resources into this winter storm restoration effort. Many troubleshooters and line men and women have worked double shifts in the rain, snow and wind to restore power. After they get 8 hours of rest, they come back to work. When our crews finish in one area, we move them to where they are most needed, regardless of their home base.

During the restoration of Dec. 20 and 21, our trucks have had a difficult time navigating some of the roads in Waukesha, Washington and Dodge counties that were covered with heavy snow drifts.

Customers in the affected areas should check with their local emergency government for assistance, including warm shelter, if they do not have other resources.

Safety tips   Customers are reminded to use generators safely. Keep them outdoors and at least 20 feet away from any open doors, including garage doors. Do not use grills or other charcoal cooking devices indoors, and never use a gas oven in an attempt to heat a home. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to protect food. Check foodsafety.gov for tips on food safety when power is out. Keep electric and gas meters free of snow and ice and keep furnace exhaust outlets clear.

Flashback Friday: 1927 Christmas parade

Schuster’s Department Store sponsored Milwaukee’s annual Christmas Parade on the streets of downtown Milwaukee using flatcars on the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (TMER&L) rail lines at the start of the parade route.

The seven-mile parade became a Milwaukee tradition. Santa Claus and his six reindeer were the main attractions. More than 300,000 gathered to see the parade every year. Schuster's created a character known as Billie the Brownie to promote the event.

The photo at right was taken in 1927. TMER&L was one of our predecessor companies, which  later changed its name to Wisconsin Electric Power Co. -- now doing business as We Energies.

Related information:

The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transit Historical Society has a history of TMER&L on its website.

In 2009, the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend  hosted the Worlds of Wonder: Armin O. Hansen's Festive Float Designs exhibit. For 31 years, Hansen was the designer of the parade's floats. You can learn more about the parade and its floats in this 10-minute WUWM podcast produced to promote the exhibit:

In 2011, OnMilwaukee.com published a Michael Lisicky interview. Lisicky is author of a book about Milwaukee's Downtown shopping culture, "Gimbels Has It!"

In 2012, OnMilwaukee.com published a Paul Geenen interview about "Schuster's & Gimbels: Milwaukee's Beloved Department Stores,"a paperback covering the merger of the two companies.

In 2012, Dave Begel of OnMilwaukee.com published a column about Billie the Brownie.




Thursday, December 20, 2012

Keep natural gas meters, vents clear of snow, ice

Whenever we get much snow, we warn about keeping your furnace vents and natural gas meters clear of snow and ice.

A couple of years ago, one of our employees noticed the smell of natural gas in his house. So, he went outside to take a look. His gas meter was clear, but his furnace vent was completely covered within a four-foot drift against the back of his house. He dug it out and cleared the pipe and then checked on it throughout the day because of continued drifting.


Here's a picture of the back of an employee's house after snow was cleared from furnace vents.















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 always remind customers to keep their meter clear of snow and ice for safety. Accumulated snow and ice place stress on meter piping that 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. 

Stay safe this winter.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Flashback Friday: TV promoted electrical living in 1950s

At right, Mary Modern demonstrated recipes using 
electric appliances.
One of our predecessor companies,Wisconsin Electric Power Co., was a sponsor of nationally televised programs. One was Electrical Living, a 5-minute program that aired weeknights. The show featured Mary Modern, portrayed by Dorothy Gresbach, who demonstrated recipes using electric appliances. Gresbach, an employee in the home service division of the local electric company, was assisted by another home service employee, Alice Christenson. The show was televised from WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Governor honors utility workers

Gov. Scott Walker hosted a ceremony today honoring utility workers, many of whom recently took on extra responsibilities or traveled to the East Coast to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

We dedicated more than 100 personnel resources to help restore electric service in New York in the storm's aftermath. Our crews were nicknamed ‘The Machine’ by Consolidated Edison (ConEd) work dispatchers, due to their efficiency and strong work ethic.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also thanked Wisconsin utility crews via video for assisting in the recovery effort.

Our Customer Operations employees who attended the event, included John Pilling, area manager; Joe Krzyzaniak, operations manager; Scott Johnson, lead line mechanic, and Jerimiah “JJ” Blosmore, line mechanic. Bert Garvin, senior vice president external affairs also attended the event.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Employees’ quick action averts potential serious harm to customer

Because Tom Jendusa, a field collector in our customer services department, was in the right place at the right time on Dec. 4, a customer’s life likely was spared.

Jendusa and Fails
Jendusa was revisiting homes in a Milwaukee residential neighborhood that had been disconnected prior to the start of the winter shut off moratorium to ensure there were no safety issues. As he approached one dwelling, he heard the unmistakable sound of a running generator – inside the house.

He spoke to the occupant about the hazards of running a generator inside a building, but the man balked, noting there was ventilation and that he felt fine. Jendusa knew the customer was in danger, so he called Paula Fails, his team leader, and reported what he had found. Fails and Jendusa quickly agreed that the Milwaukee Fire Department should be contacted. Jendusa did so. The MFD reported the incident to the Milwaukee Police Department and within minutes, officers responded.

The police officers were inside the house for about 5 minutes, trying to convince the man – a relative of the homeowner – to evacuate. While they were inside, the officers began feeling the carbon monoxide effects. The officers successfully removed the man from the building and then were treated at a local hospital for CO poisoning, which can be deadly. The man was taken to a health and human services agency.

The Department of Neighborhood Services in Milwaukee boarded up the unoccupied property to prevent further access.

Carbon monoxide safety information

Flashback Friday: Energy crisis of early '70s

The energy crisis of 1973-74 – brought about by the Arab oil embargo – sent a shock wave through the American economy.

The embargo led to short-term gasoline rationing, caused petroleum prices to quadruple and increased demand for other fuels. Coal prices tripled, increasing the financial pressures on our company. Our natural gas business faced a double whammy: soaring prices and diminishing supplies. 

We continued to expand natural gas service to residential customers but had to impose a moratorium on new service to industries and other large customers. In 1975, we made the wise use of energy and conservation of energy resources a top priority to help customers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

PSCW approves Montfort wind farm purchase

Our proposed purchase of the Montfort Wind Energy Center in Iowa County, in southwestern Wisconsin, was approved in a 2-1 vote by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) today.

We had signed an agreement in August with NextEra Energy Resources Inc. of Florida to purchase the 30-megawatt wind farm for $27 million. We will retain NextEra to operate the site under an operations and maintenance agreement.

We previously had a power purchase agreement for 85 percent of the energy from the site. The remaining 15 percent was under a power purchase agreement with Wisconsin Power and Light Co., a subsidiary of Alliant Energy. The agreement extends through 2021.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: Electric service truck

A new form of advertising was on the rise when vehicles such as this electric service truck became signboards on wheels in the early 1900s. Formed in 1896, The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company became known as "The Electric Company" as shown on this truck.

In 1938, the name changed to Wisconsin Electric Power Co., sometimes known as WEPCO. In 1987, the company restructured and established Wisconsin Energy Corporation. In 1996, Wisconsin Electric merged with Wisconsin Natural. Six years later, Wisconsin Electric merged with Wisconsin Gas and began doing business as We Energies, reflecting the attributes of the two organizations.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Whether collecting stuffed animals or filling boxes of food for seniors, employees share personal time, resources

Volunteers who helped out Hunger Task Force.
Teams of our employees recently shared their personal time to help many in need. In one activity, they put together  Hunger Task Force stockboxes, which provide healthy food for low-income seniors. Each box contains 16 healthy items, including rice, cereal, juice, beef stew, pasta and vegetables. The Hunger Task Force delivers the boxes to low-income seniors free of charge. Each month, nearly 10,000 boxes are delivered to seniors, helping them stretch their budgets.

Our team of employees and family members built a total of 480 stockboxes in just three hours.

“It was a great feeling knowing we helped so many,” said Ceil Nish. “As I placed the food in the boxes and looked at the items, it was sad to think this might be the only food some have in their home for days. I hope we can help them out again! It also reminded me how fortunate I am to have a good job working at a great company with so many amazing co-workers.”

“It felt good to help others, to work hard and know that we were working all together to give back a little bit to make someone’s day a little better,” said Nettie Raue.

“Just knowing we were doing this to help better the lives of others was thanks enough,” said Socorro Gonzales. Tiffany Greer summed up the thoughts of the team, noting “it’s amazing how easy it is to give just a little of yourself to help those with greater needs.”

In addition, our customer service and field service supervisors conducted a drive within our Customer Operations department to collect stuffed animals. Fifty-four stuffed animals were donated to the Comfort Creature program at Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee and 62 went to Goodwill. The stuffed animals are used by the hospital to help put a child at ease when coming to the emergency room or hospital, or when coming to the hospital with an ill adult.

Goodwill sells the animals, using the sales to fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flashback Friday: Roasters

This early roaster ad touts portability.

If you used an electric roaster in preparing your Thanksgiving turkey yesterday, you weren't alone. Roasters have been widely used since the 1940s because they could cook a complete meal with minimal attention. The roaster could cook meat, vegetables and dessert all at the same time. 

The first roasters were produced in the 1930s by Milwaukee's National Enameling and Stamping Company (Nesco®). The new  "portable oven" was part of the first joint marketing effort between an appliance manufacturer and one of our predecessor companies. Nesco and utility representatives went to farms throughout Wisconsin selling the Nesco roaster ovens and light bulbs as utilities expanded electric service to rural families that were cooking on wood stoves.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Manage energy use in your kitchen during holidays


New kitchen appliances use about half the energy as those built just a decade ago, but holiday entertaining can increase use of appliances for cooking, freezing, refrigerating and dishwashing, that adds to your bill. To manage energy use, consider these tips:

Oven
  • Don’t preheat the oven for turkey, ham or other foods that cook slowly over a long time. 
  • Avoid peeking into the oven. Use the light and look through the window. 
  • Cook several items at the same but leave enough space for heat to circulate. 
  • Turn off the heat several minutes before the food is done. If the door remains closed, existing heat can finish the job. 
  • Reduce heat 25 degrees or reduce cooking time if using glass or ceramic pans, which conduct heat better.
  • Use your oven’s self cleaning feature right after cooking to take advantage of residual heat – if the oven needs cleaning. 
Stovetop
  • Match the pan size to the heating element. A 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner wastes about 40 percent of the energy. 
  • Turn off burners a couple minutes before cooking is done to use residual heat.
  • Keep burners and reflectors clean. If you replace reflectors, the better ones can save about a third of the energy used on the stovetop. 
Other cooking tips
  • Use a microwave oven for baking yams, steaming vegetables or other small portions of food. Saves about half the cost of using the stove. 
  • Consider slow cookers, toaster ovens, electric skillets and other small appliances, which use less energy than a stove. 
  • Consider grilling the turkey outdoors – weather permitting – to avoid the oven. 
Refrigerator
  • Keep doors closed as much as possible. A longer opening one time is better than repeated opening. 
  • Consider using an ice chest/cooler for drinks rather than the refrigerator. 
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer full to help it recover quickly after opening and closing. 
  • Don’t cram. While full is good, cramming blocks circulation, making it work harder. 
Dishwasher
  • Use hand washing and drying to avoid the dishwasher. 
  • Use the basin rather then leaving the water running while hand washing. 
  • Wash only full loads when using the dishwasher. If rinsing first, use cold water. 
  • Use energy-saving cycles when possible. 

More money-saving tips

Friday, November 16, 2012

Flashback Friday: Horsecar

Milwaukee pioneer George Walker, launched the city’s first horsecar line in 1859. The horsecars moved at 6 miles per hour and cost anywhere from $6 to $7 a day to operate.

Lack of speed, equine epidemics, cost and mountains of manure drove the invention of a new form of transportation: an electric streetcar. Charles Van Depoele introduced electrified transit as a more permanent and cost efficient solution.

A number of electric trolley systems emerged, and in January 1896 they were consolidated into The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co. (TMER&L Co.), forerunner of today’s We Energies.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crews return home from Hurricane Sandy restoration work

After approximately two weeks away providing assistance to utilities affected by Superstorm Sandy, our crews and contractors returned to Wisconsin on Nov. 14. The crews were greeted by news reporters at the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s I-94 Visitor Information Center in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

John Pilling, area manager – customer operations, told reporters how grateful people were to have our help, especially when they heard how far the crews had traveled.

Our crews earned a reputation for being hard workers. A Consolidated Edison (ConEd) representative told the group that he was very impressed with the work ethic of our crews and supervisors. The crews typically would leave the hotel at 5:30 a.m. and return at 8 or 9 p.m.

“He would often comment that we were asking for more work earlier in the day than other crews and noticed that we always asked for more orders before our present work ran out so we could check jobs ahead of the crews getting there,” said Pilling. “He said that the work dispatchers had a nickname for We Energies crews — ‘The Machine’ — a nice compliment to our employees!"

Line mechanics returned to Wisconsin Nov. 14 after helping restore 
service in areas of New York pummeled by Hurricane Sandy.
Crews stopped at the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s I-94 
Visitor Information Center in Pleasant Prairie.
Several of our line mechanics were interviewed about their experience.
Links to some of the coverage:

Fox6 Milwaukee
CBS58 Milwaukee

Wisconsin Pillar from WWII Memorial dedicated at Coal Dock Park


A replica of the Wisconsin Pillar from the WWII Memorial that stands in Washington, D.C., was dedicated Nov. 9 in Coal Dock Park, in Port Washington, Wis., as a tribute to all Wisconsin veterans. We were one of the sponsors of the dedication event, which was hosted by the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight organization.

Gale Klappa, our chairman, president and CEO, one of the speakers at the event, said, “As I was preparing my remarks for today, I couldn’t help but remember the words of the great American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. He wrote: The years teach much which the days never know.”

He continued: “And today—through the perspective of time and the prism of history—we understand much better the enormity of the challenge, the magnitude of the sacrifice, and the valor of the young men and women who fought fearlessly for our freedom during World War II.

Ceremonies for the pillar dedication were conducted Nov. 9. 

More than 200 people attended the event.
“On behalf of the men and women of We Energies, I’m delighted that the World War II Wisconsin pillar has found a permanent home in the shadow of our new Port Washington generating station and on the grounds of our former coal dock, which is being transformed into a beautiful venue called Coal Dock Park.

“The pillar will stand here for generations who will gather to remember and to honor those whose lives gave new meaning to the idea of service above self.”

Wisconsin Energy, our parent company, has partnered with Stars and Stripes Honor Flight since its inception, helping sponsor flights to Washington, D.C., to take WWII veterans to see their memorial and the other historic sights, as well as the Field of Honor event this past August at Miller Park.

See more images at Visual Image Photography

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flight of the falcon: peregrine rescued at Oak Creek

The rescue of a peregrine falcon has made newspapers across the country, thanks to the quick thinking of peregrine manager Greg Septon.

Septon recently learned that Eclipse, a peregrine who had successfully nested in our new air quality control system (AQCS) nest box at the Oak Creek Power Plant this year, was trapped inside the waste water building at the site. The falcon couldn’t escape and with options limited, Septon figured he may be able to lure the bird from her perch with a live pigeon.

Septon explains what happened next:

“The plan was to show her the pigeon and then gradually walk back down the stairs, luring her to the ground level where I’d left some doors open for her. But this particular falcon was hungry and had more immediate plans. I’d no more than begun to show her the pigeon when in an instant she left her perch and dove straight down at me, striking and binding to the pigeon that I still held in my right hand. It was a little exciting to say the least, and with my left hand free, I grabbed the peregrine and was able to get her to let go of the pigeon. So, there I stood with an angry peregrine in one hand and a nerve-wracked pigeon in the other. Before things got entirely out of hand, I was able to put the pigeon back in a small cardboard box and wrap the falcon in a yellow rain coat that I conveniently found nearby.”

Septon safely released Eclipse outside, and she is expected to be okay. Septon also was able to return the pigeon to its owner, who had loaned the racing pigeon to Septon for the rescue effort.

Read more about the rescue in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flashback Friday: Cookie Book

Visitors to our headquarters line up to view a cookie display 
and get copies of our Cookie Book in 1938.
First introduced in 1928, when  We Energies was known as The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co., the Cookie Book gained great popularity among our customers.

By the early 1930s, scores of holiday bakers took the trolleys to the Public Service Building in downtown Milwaukee to receive the complimentary recipe book, complete with helpful cooking and energy tips. Our Home Service Bureau would arrange displays of cookies, candies and fruitcake, and demonstrate how to use new kitchen appliances, which we sold in our retail store.

In the mid-1960s, winter displays adorned the windows of the Public Service Building to promote the cookie book distribution. The tradition ended in the early 1970s when rising costs led us to promote energy conservation rather than consumption.

The book made a comeback in 1984 and a couple new editions were printed in the 1990s and another in 2002. Since 2006, the book has been printed each year, restoring the annual tradition. Typically distributed in November, the Cookie Book is made available at more than two dozen locations across our service area.

This year, more than 200,000 books were printed. Get distribution details at our website where you also can view previous editions.

Recipes and cookie books

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cookie Book Q and A

Why does We Energies produce a Cookie Book?
The Cookie Book originally was produced as a goodwill gesture to customers. To this day, customers are eager to get the latest edition.

How are recipes chosen? 
Each year is a little different. This year, we asked customers to submit recipes. In the past, we asked active and retired employees for recipes, or we used favorites from previous editions.

When was the first one produced?
 
1928

Are they produced every year? 
We have produced a book each year since bringing it back in 2006. The book only was produced a few times in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Are old editions available? 
We have placed all the editions we could find on our website's Recipes page.

Does it impact customers' energy costs? 
Costs associated with the book are minimized because we use internal resources, and the production costs do not impact customer rates.

How are distribution locations chosen? 
For smaller events, we use our service centers. For larger events, we look for venues that customers can safely and easily access, such as Miller Park in Milwaukee or Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton. Books also are distributed by our field employees on customer appointments.

What happens to extra books and old editions? 
A number of books are archived each year. Typically, we don’t have extra books after our distribution events end.

Will there be another one next year? 
The decision is made each year, based on budget and other constraints.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crews help make repairs in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Our crews have been assisting in restoring service in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy since Oct. 31. 

Crews were first dispatched to assist DTE Energy in the Detroit area, including Port Huron and Lapeer. Following restoration to those communities, the crews headed further east to assist Consolidated Edison in New York. After driving 13 hours, our crews arrived Nov. 3 at a staging area at Citi Field and then began working the next day in nearby Queens, N.Y., where the work continues.

Between our employees and contract crews, we have dedicated about 130 personnel resources to the relief effort.

Line crew repairing power lines in Queens, N.Y.
















Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We celebrate Veterans Day, Nov. 11

We join in celebrating Veterans Day on Nov. 11 and extend our gratitude to our many employees and customers who have served or continue to serve in the various branches of the U.S. armed forces. Our company has benefited from the skills that many employees obtained through their military experience and brought with them to We Energies.

We have been a long-time supporter of veterans activities, with the Wisconsin Energy Foundation being one of the first Milwaukee-area sponsors of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight program, which flies WWII veterans and terminally ill veterans from other wars to see their memorials in Washington, D.C. The foundation underwrote the production of the “Every Day is a Bonus – the Story of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” documentary in 2011 and the corporation sponsored the "Field of Honor" event at Miller Park earlier this year.

We also have been involved in the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists and raises awareness of the needs of injured service members, and we have been recognized in the past as a top 100 military-friendly employer.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday honoring armed service veterans. It coincides with holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other parts of the world, and marks the anniversary of the signing of the armistice in 1918 that ended World War I.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flashback Friday: Electric water heater

This 1941 ad touts the benefits of electric water heaters – warm bathing water for families – and promotes electric water heaters as safer, easier and more efficient than gas models. An Englishman, Benjamin Maughan, invented the first instant water heater in 1868 called “The Geyser,” a device where the water was heated as it flowed into the bath. They were known to be dangerous.

Maughan’s invention influenced the designs of a Norwegian mechanical engineer named Edwin Ruud, who immigrated to Pittsburgh and invented the electric water heater. Ruud's design consisted of a large tank to store water and an electric heat source to warm it to the desired temperature.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Klappa wins CEO award

Gale Klappa, chairman, president and CEO, received the Responsible CEO of the Year award from Corporate Responsibility Magazine in October.

Award presentation and acceptance speech:


Beware of phishing scams that ask for account numbers, log-in information

By now, most people can spot a phishing scam quickly by looking at the email address that the sender used to send the message. It’s easy to detect a bogus message that should be deleted without taking the requested action – which results in sharing of personal information, including banking information or other vital data.

Customers have reported, from time to time, receipt of an email offering them the opportunity to have their energy bill paid, either as a “winner” of a special offer or another fabricated situation. In no instance should you provide the requested information.

We never contact customers and ask for their user ID, password, Social Security number or other sensitive information over the phone or in an email.

Always be certain you are using our website to access your account online. Some scammers include links to web addresses that are similar but not the same as our address, which is we-energies.com. Sites that use a web address such as we-energy.com, wenergy.com or other name are not ours and should not be used.

Please be aware of such scams and help your friends and neighbors avoid them, too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Company crews head east to restore power

Company crews departed our Racine Service Center this morning to help restore power in the aftermath of Sandy, the “Frankenstorm” that hit the East Coast on Monday with high winds and water.

A fleet of 14 trucks gets ready to depart from Racine to assist 
in storm  restoration  efforts to areas hit by Sandy.
The team includes 20 line mechanics, a fleet mechanic, four managers and 14 trucks. 

The crews’ first stop will be in Redford, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, where Sandy’s high winds knocked out power. From there, they will head further east for assignment to other areas.

Earlier this week, we released 50 contract crew members to assist with the restoration on the East Coast.

Milwaukee’s WISN-TV talked to us about the challenges utilities in the East are facing. 

WITI-TV also covered the deployment:




Friday, October 26, 2012

Flashback Friday: Butterfly Theater

Between 1911 and 1930, the picturesque Butterfly Theater greeted visitors to the Grand (now Wisconsin) Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

The 1,200-seat movie house was a spectacular display of electric lighting capabilities. The butterfly design for the façade was delineated in 1,000 light bulbs spanning 27 feet from wingtip to wingtip.

With wings outstretched, the butterfly had a body of a woman draped in a Grecian gown. Atop the butterfly, at the apex of the façade, were volutes (scroll-like ornaments) that supported a pedestal surmounted by a lyre, bringing to 3,000 the total number light bulbs used to create the unique figure.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Employees help keep kids warmer this winter

Hundreds of children in the Milwaukee area will be warmer this winter, thanks to the generosity of employees who donated winter clothing items in a drive sponsored by several company affinity groups.

Becky Valcq, an employee in our legal services group and a member of the Fuel Milwaukee group, organized the effort. Angela Quigley, who works in our audit services group, assisted in her role as a loaned executive with United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

Overflowing collection barrels at our West Allis Operations Center, Oakbrook Service Center, Metro North Service Center, Pewaukee Customer Care Center, Milwaukee Customer Care Center, Pewaukee Stores, and at our downtown headquarters in Milwaukee netted several hundred items, including jackets, hats, mittens, sweatshirts, jeans and socks. Employees at Oakbrook also held a bake sale with proceeds going to United Way to purchase clothing.

Quigley delivered the items to five nonprofit agencies that serve the community and that offer programs supported by United Way:
  • COA (Children’s Outing Association) 
  • Silver Spring Neighborhood Center 
  • Boys and Girls Club 
  • La Causa Crisis Nursery 
  • Neighborhood House 
“I was honored and very fortunate to drop off the generous gifts of clothing for kids to these well-deserving agencies," said Quigley.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Soup’s on for a good cause

Some of our employees in Customer Operations completed another Day of Service project when they volunteered their time at the Milwaukee Empty Bowls 2012 event, Oct. 13, at Milwaukee Area Technical College-Oak Creek. The project is part of their ongoing Create a Day of Service initiative in which teams of employees share their time and talent with nonprofit organizations.

“It was great that we were able to represent the company for such a wonderful cause. I am already looking forward to next year’s event,” said Sue Clausing, manager - customer strategies and operations support (CSOS).

Guests selected and purchased an original, handcrafted bowl – there were more than 2,000 available – and sampled soups and breads donated by more than 50 local chefs and restaurants. Clausing, six members of her team and three family members helped with traffic control, washed the soup bowls before and after use by guests, and cleaned tables.

Live music and entertainment rounded out the event. Event proceeds will help stock food pantries and support meal programs in Milwaukee. Mary Askin, event coordinator for the CSOS team, said that the money raised was “$6,000 more than what the organization hoped to achieve. That was a great event.”

Learn more about Milwaukee Empty Bowls, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that uses art to heighten hunger awareness and raise funds to address hunger.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Winter heating costs projected

We recently released our winter heating cost estimate. Based on natural gas already purchased and the current spot market price, the price for natural gas this winter is projected to be 8 percent lower than last year. The cost of the commodity is shown on the customer bill – without any markup.

Based on normal winter weather and the price of natural gas remaining where it is today on the spot market, it is estimated that our average residential customer will pay $548 in winter heating costs -- 9 percent ($45) more than last winter. That’s because customers could use more natural gas for heating if the weather is normal. Last winter, our region experienced warmer-than-normal temperatures.

The projected costs for customers for the upcoming heating season also would be:
  • Less than nine of the past 10 winters. 
  • 22 percent ($154) less than the most recent five-year average ($702). 
  • 24 percent ($176) less than the most recent 10-year average ($724). 
  • 38 percent ($330) less than the most expensive winter (2007/08 - $878).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Keep up with winter energy bills to avoid possible disconnection, additional fees in spring

We urge all customers to make regular payments during the winter season to avoid the need for a down payment and payment arrangements, and potential disconnection in the spring. This also can help avoid late fees and deposits.

We stop disconnecting residential customers during the disconnection moratorium, Nov. 1 through April 15. Any customers who qualify for energy assistance are urged to apply now as assistance is available. Call 800-842-4565 to make a down payment and payment arrangements to avoid disconnection or to get service reconnected.

Get help

We Energies
  • Phone Call 800-842-4565. Our automated system offers flexible arrangements anytime without waiting. Our representatives can help on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Online Visit our website. Wisconsin residents who can pay their current bill now and remaining balance within three months can use our Personal Payment Plan.
  • Programs Ask about our Early Identification and Low Income Pilot programs for Wisconsin customers who may qualify if they receive energy assistance.  
  • Money-saving tips Call 800-242-9137 for a money-saving kit and information. Visit our website for money-saving tips.

Energy assistance
Wisconsin 866-432-8947
Michigan 855-275-6424  

Winter billing and payment myths and facts


Myth: If service is disconnected, We Energies will reconnect it when the winter moratorium begins.


Fact: We require an appropriate down payment and a payment arrangement for the remaining balance to reconnect service.

Myth: Customers don’t have to pay for energy used during the winter months.



Fact: We charge for energy use every month, including winter months. Avoid additional charges (late fees and/or reconnect fees) by paying on time every month.


Myth: Late or missed payments are not reported to credit bureaus during winter months.


Fact: We report to the credit bureaus throughout the year. We report positively when payments are made on time and negatively when they are not.


Myth: No additional fees are charged for bills not paid during the winter.


Fact: We may add the following charges in addition to regular usage if payments are not made in winter:
·     Late fees.
·     Disconnection and reconnection fees.
·     Deposit, which can be four times the  largest winter bill.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Energies women assist at Habitat for Humanity project

A group of 10 We Energies women recently volunteered their personal time and talent to help with a Women Build Habitat for Humanity project in Milwaukee.

On two consecutive Saturdays in August, they painted the interior of a house under construction and prepared the exterior of an existing home for painting.

The volunteer activity was organized by the Women’s Development Network, one of our company’s affinity groups. The group has participated in other Women Build projects for Habitat by helping with dry walling, painting and other construction work for new homes, built in partnership with the homeowners.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012 Cookie Book distribution schedule set

This year’s Cookie Book, which will be distributed in November, continues the tradition we started nearly a century ago and features family favorites submitted by our customers.

Many of the recipes are named after a beloved grandma for baking the best cookies. Grandma Diekelman’s Fruit Cookies, Grandma Strehlow’s Old-Fashion Caramels and Grandma Ewald Cookies are among the 36 recipes featured in the 2012 book. Three gluten-free recipes also are included.

The Cookie Book has been in the works since early June when recipes were reviewed, selected and tested. More details about this year’s book will be posted in early November, but you can get the distribution schedule today.

2012 Cookie Book distribution schedule
Mobile version (includes map for locations)

Testers make choices for a 1960s cookie book.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ospreys get a hand from our field crews

Ospreys, large raptors that have made a comeback from Wisconsin's endangered species list, still get an assist from our field crews to protect the birds as well as our equipment.

Because ospreys like to build nests in high structures, electric distribution structures often are attractive sites. The problem is that sticks can fall from the 200-pound nests, causing service interruptions, and the birds could be electrocuted.

Whenever ospreys start to build nests in our facilities, our field crews often construct taller alternative nesting structures for the birds nearby. Because the ospreys prefer the taller structures, they typically will build their nests on the platforms. Ospreys currently use more than 25 platforms that we erected in central and northern Wisconsin as well as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

To assist in identifying and tracking ospreys, we also assist with banding of recently hatched birds by using our equipment to access the nests. This year, we assisted Pat Fisher of The Feather Rehabilitation Center in New London, Wis., with banding at two locations.

Photographs of osprey banding at Weyauwega and New London

Ospreys – sometimes known as sea hawks, fish eagles or fish hawks – live near inland lakes and large reservoirs or river systems. With wingspans approaching 6 feet, ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface to pluck fish from the water with their curved talons.

They spend winters in Central and South America, returning in spring to their same nesting sites in North America where they typically lay three eggs a year. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This volunteer work? A can of corn

Employee volunteers sort 6 tons of food.
A team of employees who work in our customer processes and operations support group recently sorted food at Hunger Task Force. The activity was part of the Create a Day of Service initiative that was launched in 2011 as a way to make the communities where we live and work a better place and serve customers in a unique way through employee participation in volunteer activities.

Our volunteers worked together for three hours sorting food and personal care items into boxes.

“Thank you for your group’s help in sorting more than 12,000 pounds of food on Aug. 15. Hunger Task Force is grateful for your efforts in the fight against hunger in our community,” said Justine Kipper, community relations manager – Hunger Task Force. “Food sorting is an important first step in feeding Milwaukee’s hungry, and volunteer groups such as yours are making this possible on the front line. Can by can, and box by box, you’ve sorted and built a supply of healthy and nutritious food that will feed families across Milwaukee.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Employees honored for heroic action

Fitters Brad Buttweiler and Todd Smukowski recently received the Life Sustaining Award from the Midwest Energy Association (MEA) in recognition of their heroic actions on a cold night in January 2012 in the city of Milwaukee.

A gas emergency call was made by a neighbor who said she smelled natural gas at a house next door that was being renovated. Upon arriving, Smukowski found high levels of carbon monoxide coming from the flue gas. Through a window, he saw that the front cover of the furnace was propped open, and the furnace’s wiring looked to have been done by a nonprofessional. Yellow and orange colored flames were escaping from the furnace, indicating it was not operating properly.

The team discovered carbon monoxide (CO) levels at greater than 100 parts per million (PPM). [Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) allows up to 50 ppm as the eight-hour time-weighted average, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSHA) specifies a ceiling of 200 ppm as the maximum permissible exposure to CO.] Exposure at 100 ppm over time would have been fatal. Buttweiler and Smukowski shut off the gas immediately and called for the electricity to be cut off. They also noticed a light on in the kitchen and decided to call the fire department in case someone was unconscious inside. The fire department gained access using a pry bar to open the kitchen window to help ventilate the room. The firefighters and paramedics found a man unconscious on the floor. The man regained consciousness and was taken to the hospital for observation.

Buttweiler and Smukowski were recognized for their quick thinking and experience, applying exceptional training and know-how when it was needed most. They received their award at the MEA’s annual Gas Operations Technical and Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 2. 

The Midwest Energy Association sponsors the Life Sustaining Awards program to recognize industry employees who have performed service above and beyond the call of duty by saving or attempting to save the life of another. Applicants for these awards are approved by the executive committee of MEA's board of directors.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Field of Honor draws 30,000 to Miller Park

“Thank you veterans for defending our freedom” was the key message to more than 30,000 people who packed Miller Park Aug. 11 when a 78-minute documentary about the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight premiered. Through a contribution by the Wisconsin Energy Foundation, we were the event’s major sponsor.

Live remarks were delivered by Joe Dean, president of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Inc.; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Gale Klappa, chairman, president and CEO, We Energies; and Charlie Sykes, WTMJ-AM radio show host. Several other dignitaries and celebrities sent videotaped greetings and thanks, including:
From left, Charlie Sykes, Gale Klappa, Scott Walker. 
At podium, Joe Dean. All were on hand to show their
appreciation to the veterans.
  • Sen. Bob Dole 
  • Gen. John Allen of the U.S. and NATO Forces in Afghanistan 
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former quarterback Bart Starr 
  • Brewers Chris Narveson, Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart 
Former President George H. W. Bush’s letter of thanks also was read at the event.

Wisconsin Energy Foundation has supported the honor flight program since it started, sponsoring several flights.

The documentary, filmed by Wauwatosa native Dan Hayes, chronicles the honor flight experience, from Dean's kernel of an idea that started the program in 2008 to the homecoming that the flight attendees receive at Milwaukee’s airport at the end of their daylong trip to Washington, D. C., to visit the World War II Memorial, other memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.

Veterans, family, friends and other supporters 
packed Miller Park in Milwaukee.
In his remarks, Klappa said, “Through the prism of history, we understand much better today the enormity of the challenge, the magnitude of the sacrifice, and the valor of the young men and women who fought fearlessly for our freedom. Most were just entering the early prime of their lives. Many were fresh out of high school. Regardless, they chose to face, without hesitation, the great terror of that time. And we are forever grateful.”

WITI TV6 video

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer heat leads to higher energy use; tips to manage energy bills

Summer has been hot. Although our rates are the same as they were last year, you likely are seeing an increase in your bill because air conditioners and fans use more energy in hot weather. If you don’t use air conditioning, you still might see a higher bill because refrigerators and freezers run more often.

Payment arrangements and assistance
If you or someone you know is having difficulty making full energy bill payments, contact us at 800-842-4565 to discuss payment arrangement options that can help avoid disconnection. Some low- and moderate-income customers -- those with less than 60 percent of the state median income -- may qualify for energy assistance.

Milwaukee County crisis grants
If you live in Milwaukee County and are disconnected or are having difficulty paying your energy bill, contact the Social Development Commission or Community Advocates to apply for a crisis grant. For more information, contact the SDC Energy Assistance Program Hotline at 414-906-2800 or Community Advocates at 414-875-2011.

Wisconsin assistance
If you do not live in Milwaukee County but are in Wisconsin, you can apply for assistance by calling the Home Energy+ hotline at 866-432-8947.

Budget Billing
If you do not qualify for assistance, you can avoid summer bill spikes by signing up for Budget Billing, which evens out payments through the year. You have two options: periodic and continuous. Both plans have a six-month review.
Budget Billing information

Energy efficiency
Another way to manage energy costs is by using energy efficiently.
Cool efficiently to save money

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Agreement signed to purchase Montfort Wind Energy Center

We recently signed an agreement with NextEra Energy Resources to buy the Montfort Wind Energy Center -- an existing 30-megawatt wind farm located in Iowa County, Wis. The purchase price is $27 million.

We currently have a power purchase agreement for 85 percent of the energy from the site. The remaining 15 percent is under a power purchase agreement with Wisconsin Power and Light Co., a subsidiary of Alliant Energy. 

In announcing the agreement, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Gale Klappa said, “We believe this acquisition will deliver positive economic benefits for our customers and our shareholders.” 
 
The acquisition is subject to approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2012. We will retain NextEra to operate the site under an operations and maintenance agreement.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Environmental team helps preserve a community treasure

Our Environmental department recently volunteered to assist Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc.

Volunteering took place at Milwaukee’s Lynden Hill Urban Teach Responsible Environmental Education (TREE) House, located at North 22nd Street and West McKinley Avenue in Milwaukee. The area is a green space used to help urban children learn the value of natural resources. There are gardens for local kids to come and plant vegetables. Lynden Hill Urban TREE House plans to have classes for the kids to learn how to make meals out of the things they grow. The property has a rich local history. The site was the location of the residence of Milwaukee’s first mayor, women’s rights activities, orphanages and hospitals dating to the 1800s.

The Environmental department’s community service project consisted of relocating, mulching and watering trees; paving and finishing a stairway entrance into the area; cleaning a garage for use with the environmental learning center, and helping with community gardens and trash pickup.

Mesha Johnson, office assistant, and Liz Stueck-Mullane, manager - land quality, organized the event, and Steve Stretchberry, senior engineer, and Bob Paulson, senior environmental consultant, served as team captains. About 35 environmental staff members provided the muscle, resulting in a successful team contribution to the community.

“I was impressed at how beautifully kept the area was,” said Johnson. Even a little boy from down the street came and helped us. It was a pleasure to help with what they are trying to accomplish. I was truly touched by the experience.”

Monday, July 9, 2012

Warning: Government stimulus voucher to pay energy bills is a scam

We recently heard of a scam that could compromise customers’ identity. Beware of any invitation that offers assistance from the federal government to help pay high energy bills due to the heat wave. The only state- and federal-supported program for utility payments is Energy Assistance, and you must qualify to receive assistance. The number to contact in Wisconsin is 866-432-8947. Other tips:
  • Guard your identity. Only provide your credit card or bank account number when you are actually paying for something with it.
  • Keep your social security number confidential. It’s the key that unlocks your identity. Don’t give it to anyone unless you’re sure who it is and why it’s necessary to provide it.
  • The We Energies My Account online bill review and payment system is secure. If you have questions, please call us. We’re here 24/7 to serve you. 800-242-9137.
Related local media coverage:

Criminals sometimes pose as our workers in an attempt to gain access to homes.

Our line mechanics, forestry workers, meter readers, service technicians and other employees as well as our contractors may visit your home or neighborhood from time to time. To ensure your safety, please check for ID. All of our employees and contractors wear photo identification badges. If the employee does not have an ID or if you have questions, call us at 800-242-9137 before allowing anyone access to your home. Although many of our workers wear a uniform, clothing or hard hat that features our logo, some do not. Whether they wear a logo or not, always ask for ID.

If you believe you have been victimized by someone posing as a We Energies representative, contact your local police and report it. We will cooperate with their investigation.

Friday, June 29, 2012

PSCW approves plan to upgrade natural gas facilities

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSCW) approved our application to replace natural gas facilities along a corridor that includes Milwaukee, West Allis, West Milwaukee and the eastern edge of New Berlin. The project, called the Lincoln – Arthur Main Replacement Project, is part of our ongoing replacement of older natural gas mains in the service area. The proposed cost of construction is $29.8 million.

The project is the best alternative and most advantageous means to meet our obligation as a utility. The segment identified for replacement is a main artery of the high-pressure gas system supplying customers in Milwaukee County.

Seventy-five percent of the gas mains between South 124th and South 47th streets along West Lincoln and West Arthur avenues were installed more than 60 years ago and vary in size between 18- and 30-inch pipe. These are high-pressure transmission mains operating at 175 pounds per square inch gauge (PSIG).

The Lincoln – Arthur Main Replacement Project will help meet future anticipated gas consumption in the Menomonee Valley area related to business development. It also will provide a possible option for supplying our Valley Power Plant with natural gas, provided we can demonstrate a direct economic benefit to the electric and steam customers served by Valley, and that the PSCW approves the fuel conversion.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in March 2013, with completion in September 2014. Construction work would occur from March through September of each year.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bald eagles benefit from our protection plan

Our Bald Eagle Protection Plan protects nesting eagles from disturbance, protects canopy trees for future nesting sites and offers financial incentives to members of the public who report raptor nesting sites on company lands. This plan supports bald eagle recovery in Wisconsin and Michigan, primarily in our Wilderness Shores Recreation Area – now home to about two dozen bald eagle pairs.

On distribution system projects, we evaluate records for known nesting sites. We also screen project routes for potential nests and nesting trees. If we find any, we develop a plan to either reroute the line or find another way to avoiding impact to nests.

On our hydroelectric project lands, we participate annually with wildlife and environmental agencies in monitoring known nesting sites, reporting new nesting sites and identifying nests that are either inactive or fallen. Our monitoring occurs while we conduct other survey work on the hydroelectric facilities. Agencies monitor activity in flyover surveys.

“We find some nests that are undiscovered during flyovers,” said Mike Grisar, senior consultant in our environmental department. “We report those, and whenever we have a project within close proximity to an active eagle nest, we work with state and federal agencies to ensure we have no impact to a nest.”

Grisar says that construction work within 1,500 feet of a nest is delayed to avoid active nesting periods. “We also conduct some selective timber harvests on the hydro project lands to aid in the forests’ long-term viability and sustainability. To protect the eagles, we create and maintain no-cut zones around the nest sites. Harvests are conducted outside the active nest period as well. Finally, some canopy trees are maintained and not cut to provide the habitat for eagles and other species dependent on these canopy trees.”

Wilderness Shores Recreation Area is located primarily along the border of northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The area covers about 30,000 acres for 12 hydroelectric projects along the Menominee River system just north of Crystal Falls, Mich., to east of Amberg, Wis. About half the area is land and half water -- both essential habitat requirements to sustain eagles and their young.