Thursday, December 31, 2020

#FridayGiving: 2020 in Review

For decades, We Energies has been investing in the communities we serve to ensure a brighter future for everyone. This year, we embarked on a new project called #FridayGiving to highlight some of the incredible nonprofits we are proud to support. 

Every Friday, for the past 52 weeks, we have featured organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, and City Year Milwaukee on our social media pages.



We had no idea when we started that COVID-19 would take such a toll on our city, state and country. But the importance of our charitable giving has become clearer than ever. 

This year, the We Energies Foundation donated: 

More than $500,000 to organizations on the front lines of the pandemic, including healthcare organizations and nonprofits committed to keeping families fed.

$100,000 to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Community Foundation’s Rebuild and Revitalize fund to help local businesses that sustained damage during this summer’s unrest.

$50,000 to more than 30 public safety agencies across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula as part of our inaugural Rewarding Responders Grants.

That is on top of the donations given to hundreds of organizations that applied for grants to support their initiatives for community and neighborhood development, health and human services, arts and culture, education and the environment.

Since the early 1980s, we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. We are committed to carrying that legacy into 2021 and beyond. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

New report shows peregrine falcons thriving thanks to We Energies and other Wisconsin utilities

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) are celebrating another successful year in helping the state-listed endangered peregrine falcon population flourish. According to this year’s Peregrine Falcon Nesting Season Report, an impressive 410 peregrine falcon chicks have been born, named and banded at We Energies and WPS power plants in Wisconsin and Michigan in the past 28 years.

According to peregrine falcon manager Greg Septon, 20% of all peregrine falcons born in the wild in Wisconsin over the last two-and-a-half decades were born at We Energies or WPS facilities. 




The report also features:

Nesting details for all the 2020 chicks, including “Cream Puff” and “Bubbler,” named after your favorite things about Wisconsin.

Pictures of the eight chicks hatched at We Energies and WPS power plants in 2020.

Sightings of popular peregrines from years past, including “Beak Freak” and “Yeli,” named after Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich, respectively.

The peregrine falcon program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Be safe and efficient this holiday season

We’ve made a list, and we’ve checked it twice. Here are 12 helpful tips to keep your holidays safe and your energy costs manageable. 




Tip 1: Keep your baking spirits bright. Don’t open the oven door to peek at your holiday goodies. Opening the door can drop the temperature 25 degrees, adding to cooking time and energy use. Try checking your treats by turning on the oven light instead.

Tip 2: It’s a beaut, Clark! Switch to LED lights. They last longer and use less energy compared to incandescent lights. Just make sure you don’t overload your outlets.

Tip 3: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow — but please safely brush away snow and ice from your home’s natural gas meter and vents. The extra weight can stress or crack meter piping, causing a natural gas leak.

Tip 4: Make it the hap-hap-happiest season when you save money by turning down your thermostat a few degrees when you are nestled all snug in bed, while visions of sugarplums dance in your head.

Tip 5: It’s a clinker! Don’t let that blasted furnace leave your holiday story bitter. Schedule tuneups and change the filter regularly to keep it running safely and efficiently all winter long.

Tip 6: Roasting chestnuts on the fire? Open-hearth fireplaces draw hot air from your home, sending it — and possibly your energy budget — up the chimney. Cracking open a nearby window reduces the amount of heated interior air drawn into the fireplace and improves efficiency by up to 20%!

Tip 7: When making the figgy pudding, match the pot or pan size with a similar-sized burner. This not only uses heat more efficiently, but also reduces cooking time.

Tip 8: Safety is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year! Put a carbon monoxide detector on your holiday shopping list or check existing detectors to ensure they are working properly.

Tip 9: Turn the oven off a few minutes early to finish cooking your roast beast. As long as the oven door remains closed, enough heat will be stored inside to finish your “Who” feast.

Tip 10: It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. The average household spends about $300 a year on water heating costs. It’s an easy way to be of good cheer and rack up big savings.

Tip 11: Keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose by using weatherstripping and caulk to seal gaps around windows, doors and siding. This will improve your energy efficiency and leave you feeling warm and jolly.

Tip 12: All we want for the holidays is a blue flame on your natural gas range. That blue flame means your stovetop is working properly. A yellow flame is a sign the range may need to be adjusted by a professional.

Friday, December 4, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies honored with EPIC Award by the United Performing Arts Fund

We’re proud to be longtime supporters of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), but this year, our employees really stepped it up. We were recently honored with the EPIC (Exceptional Performance in a Campaign) Award by UPAF. The award, which is not often bestowed, acknowledges participating companies that produce exceptional results from their employee giving campaign. 

While total giving to the UPAF umbrella organization was slightly down this year, due in large part to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, We Energies employees increased their total pledges to UPAF from approximately $135,000 in 2019, to more than $163,000 in 2020. 

“During these very challenging times, UPAF is literally a lifeline for our performing arts,” said Tom Metcalfe, president – We Energies, acknowledging the importance of the award-winning employee support. “UPAF is working closely with each member organization to ensure they are best positioned to get through this pandemic and are able to deliver world-class performances and community engagement in the years ahead.”   

Due in part to the success of the We Energies employee campaign, the communitywide campaign raised approximately $11.7 million. In addition, a dedicated “Kasey's Fund,” named in honor of the daughter of UPAF's outgoing CEO, Deanna Tillisch, raised more than $720,000 to support two community outreach programs that focus on increasing diversity, inclusion and equality within the performing arts.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Brighten up your holiday with energy efficient lights

Whether you’re channeling Clark Griswold from the movie “Christmas Vacation” or planning something a little simpler, these easy tips will help you get in the holiday spirit without overloading your outlets … or your energy bill.



Make a list and check it twice. Use the holiday lighting cost calculator on our website to compare your options this season and get an idea of what to expect on your energy bill. 

Hanging 25,000 twinkle lights? Switch to LEDs. They’ll last longer and use less energy compared to incandescent lights.

Take back some time for yourself. Put your holiday lights on a timer. That way, there’s no risk you’ll forget to turn them off when you go to bed and accidentally leave them on all night long. 

Light up that inflatable snowman. Change the lightbulb inside inflatable decorations to an LED bulb, and remember, the motor that keeps those holiday decorations inflated and jolly could also increase your energy costs. 

Save money when you deck the halls. While you’re outside decorating, take the time to replace all of your outdoor lightbulbs with LEDs, including your porch and garage lights. 

Be safe. Don’t overload your outlets or string too many lights together. Make sure to inspect your strands of lights and throw away any that are damaged. 

For more energy efficiency tips, visit our website.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Largest rooftop solar panel system in Wisconsin history now sending clean energy to customers

A record-breaking project between We Energies and Harley-Davidson is creating clean energy for customers across the state. Nearly 8,400 solar panels on top of the Harley-Davidson’s Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility in Menomonee Falls went into service this month.


The project, which is part of We Energies innovative Solar Now program, is the largest single rooftop solar panel system in Wisconsin. The panels can produce 2.25 megawatts — enough energy to power more than 400 homes.

“Reducing emissions is essential to building a bright, sustainable future,” said Tom Metcalfe — president We Energies. “Projects like this provide clean, renewable energy and are an important part of our commitment to make our electric generation fleet net carbon neutral by 2050. We are proud to work with Harley-Davidson on this historic project.”

Under the Solar Now program, We Energies partners with large business, nonprofit and government customers to host solar panels. We Energies leases space for the panels on roofs and unused land. The clean energy that is produced serves all customers.

Solar Now is a pilot program approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. We Energies has energized 11 Solar Now projects and currently has another 6 under construction, together totaling more than 15 megawatts. That’s enough energy to power more than three thousand Wisconsin homes.

We Energies has selected SunVest, a Wisconsin-based company, to be the general contractor for these projects.

Solar Now is part of the company’s plan to create a cleaner energy future that is safe, reliable and affordable. Working with industry partners, environmental groups and state and federal leaders, We Energies and its parent company WEC Energy Group have a goal to make their electric generation fleet net carbon neutral by 2050 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 55% by 2025 and 70% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

A cornucopia of energy efficiency tips for Thanksgiving

It’s easy to trim your energy bill while you trim your turkey. Follow these simple steps to manage your energy costs. They’re as easy as pumpkin pie!



Timing is everything. Make sure the green bean casserole is ready for baking by the time your oven finishes preheating. Heating the oven for longer than needed wastes energy and money.

No peeking! Use your oven light to check on the pumpkin pie rather than opening the oven. Opening the door can drop the temperature 25 degrees, adding cooking time and energy use. 

Consider pan size. Using a small saucepan on a big burner wastes heat. Matching your pot or pan size with a similar-sized burner not only uses heat more efficiently, but also takes less time. 

Feeling toasty? If your oven is on and you’ve got dishes cooking on the stove, you can probably lower your thermostat a few degrees without noticing a difference.    

Cleanup is key. After you pack up those leftovers, fully load your dishwasher. It will use the same amount of energy whether it’s full or not. 

After dinner is over, the rest is gravy! Be sure to check out more energy efficiency tips on our website

If you’re hungry for more on Black Friday, check out our partners at Focus on Energy. Their doorbusting deals on smart thermostats can help you gobble up an extra helping of energy savings.

Friday, November 20, 2020

We Energies named ‘Best in Midwest’ for 10th consecutive year

We Energies' commitment to customer service is being honored with a 2020 ReliabilityOne Award, citing the superior reliability of the company's electric delivery network. This is the 10th year in a row and 13th time in the past 15 years that the company has been recognized as the most reliable utility in the region.



The award, which is based on performance for the year 2019, is presented annually by PA Consulting to utilities that have achieved outstanding reliability performance and have excelled in delivering the most reliable electric service to their customers.

“This award is a testament to the dedication of every one of our employees," said Tom Metcalfe, president — We Energies. “From modernizing our networks to new innovations, we work hard every day to provide world-class service to our customers."

We Energies has made significant investments in recent years to strengthen the reliability of its network by rebuilding hundreds of miles of electric distribution lines and replacing thousands of poles and transformers. These investments continue to modernize the company's delivery systems, reduce operating costs and improve energy efficiency.

“Year in and year out, We Energies is an industry leader in providing reliable service to their customers," said Gregg Edeson, ReliabilityOne program director — PA Consulting. “We are pleased to once again highlight their outstanding service and efforts with a ReliabilityOne Award."

In addition to We Energies being named Best in the Midwest, Paul Gogan, director — electric distribution asset management, was presented with the “Outstanding Contributor to Reliability Award" for his work with the Deliver the Future program at We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service and Upper Michigan Energy Resources. The program will modernize the electric infrastructure through asset replacement, equipment hardening, undergrounding, advanced communications, sensors, substation upgrades and smart devices over a 10-year period. The program is rebuilding over 600 miles of distribution lines annually, including the conversion of 100 miles of overhead distribution lines to underground and the replacement of all “active" line equipment with communications.

Both awards were presented virtually Nov. 19.

All utilities operating electric delivery networks in North America are eligible for consideration for the ReliabilityOne Award. The selection of provisional recipients is based primarily on system reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of customer outages. After provisional recipients are selected, each company undergoes an on-site certification process that provides an independent review and confirmation of the policies, processes and systems used to collect, analyze and report a company's reliability results.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Hunters reminded to set sights on safety by inspecting cabin heating systems

Before hanging a tree stand or settling into the woods to enjoy a state tradition, We Energies urges deer hunters to stay safe by thoroughly inspecting their cabin’s heating system.

Inspecting a hunting cabin’s heating system can help avoid a dangerous or even fatal buildup of carbon monoxide. This invisible, odorless gas is created by improper venting or burning of fuel.



Safety tips

To prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide, hunters should:

Install carbon monoxide detectors inside their cabins, or check existing detectors to ensure they are working properly. 

Check heating vents, flues and chimneys, and clear away any animal nests or debris.

Never use a portable electric generator indoors.

Hunters also should learn to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

A sudden flu-like illness

Dizziness, headaches or sleepiness

Cherry-red lips and an unusually pale complexion

Nausea or vomiting

A fluttering heartbeat

Unconsciousness

We Energies also reminds hunters to be aware of power lines and electric distribution equipment near hunting grounds.

Friday, November 13, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies employees pledge over $425K to United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County

The problems our community faces are complex and interrelated and, in many cases, too broad for a single nonprofit to take on by itself. That’s where United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County comes in. 

This month, hundreds of We Energies employees pledged part of their paychecks to support this incredible organization, totaling more than $425,000. In addition, the We Energies Foundation has contributed more than $1.1 million to United Way this year alone. 



United Way does more than raise money and write checks. It encourages the agencies it supports to network, collaborate and learn about issues that shape their fields. We’re proud to be longtime supporters. 

All of the money raised will stay in our communities. In 2019, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County served over 200,000 of our friends and neighbors. 

To learn more about the United Way, or to make a donation of your own, visit its website

#FridayGiving
Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

2020 We Energies Cookie Book: The story behind our cover baker

Adija Greer-Smith says she is just an average girl who loves cookies. She grew up in a close-knit family, and one of her favorite things to do growing up was to bake with her grandmother. 

“Baking for people and seeing them enjoy my cookies puts happiness in my heart,” Adija said. 



Adija has had an impressive career so far, with a successful bakery called Confectionately Yours located in Milwaukee’s Sherman Phoenix. Her infectious personality and love of baked goods has taken her far, from local news coverage of her business to being on the Food Network. Despite her past success, 2020 has brought a new highlight, her cookie featured on the cover of this year’s We Energies Cookie Book. 

“I am just so honored and thankful for this opportunity. The book has been a part of my life for over 30 years, and now I get to be in it. It’s just truly an honor,” said Adija.



Her recipe, Salted Pecan Bourbon Cookies, is one of 26 recipes from Wisconsin bakers, caterers and chefs in the 2020 We Energies Cookie Book.

Adija’s cookie is her own unique creation that combines her chocolate chip cookies with toffee, pecans and bourbon. The idea to add bourbon was inspired by another Sherman Phoenix tenant, Lush Popcorn, which creates a maple bourbon popcorn. Adija says she has a unique palate and is always looking for new ways to marry flavors together. 

“The owner of Lush Popcorn and I were talking about how we could collaborate, and we thought adding bourbon and toffee to my chocolate chip cookie recipe would go so well together,” said Adija. 

We think she is right. The cookie is sweet and salty and will be a wonderful addition to your holiday cookie platter. 



This year marks the 92nd anniversary of the Cookie Book’s first publication in 1928. There have been more than 50 versions of the Cookie Book over the years. 

Download this year’s book and find our distribution schedule and more here

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

We Energies employees pay for headstone for staff sergeant killed in WWII

This Veterans Day, we are proud to pay tribute to all of the men and women who have served our great nation. We have a strong legacy of recruiting and retaining veterans to work at We Energies, and we are committed to giving back to a number of veteran and military-based groups and community efforts. 

Earlier this year, We Energies fraternal benefit society, the Employes' Mutual Benefit Association (EMBA), paid the cost of a headstone for Staff Sgt. Walter Schaller, a Wisconsin Electric Power Co. employee who died while serving in World War II. 




























Although the U.S. government typically provides headstones for fallen service members and honorably discharged veterans, due to an oversight, Schaller’s grave did not receive one when his remains were returned to Milwaukee five years after his death. 

After hearing about Schaller’s situation, members of We Energies’ EMBA unanimously agreed to step in.

"It was one of the more heart-warming things we’ve done," says Tim Smith, EMBA assistant secretary and manager — administrative services, who attended the headstone dedication ceremony in September. "It’s something that means a lot to our members."

Schaller is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery on Milwaukee’s west side. He was just 26 years old when he was killed in action. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

#FridayGiving: Pathfinders provides stability to young people in need

Weathering the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for all of us, but imagine trying to weather it without a safe or reliable home. That’s the reality for thousands of young people in Milwaukee. 

For decades, Pathfinders has offered resources to Milwaukee’s youth to help them find stability. The organization aims to make sure young people’s basic needs are met by ensuring they have a safe place where they can sleep, shower, eat, do laundry, and be with trusted peers and adults. The We Energies Foundation is proud to support Pathfinders’ efforts.

In addition to helping with day-to-day needs, the organization also offers case management, employment resources, education and mental health services to individuals who have experienced sexual abuse or exploitation, youth aging out of foster care, youth of color, LGBTQ+ individuals and other vulnerable young people. In 2019, Pathfinders reached more than 5,000 young people.


To learn more about this organization and find out how you can help, visit their website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Don’t let a high energy bill haunt you this Halloween

This Halloween, don’t let your energy bill give you a fright. You don’t have to recreate Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory to get in the spirit. Follow these simple tips to scare up some fun while still managing your energy costs. 



Trick-or-treat! Lower your thermostat 7-10 degrees while you’re collecting candy and when it’s time for bed. Better yet, install a smart thermostat and let it do all the work.

Ward off energy vampires. Did you know that electronics like cellphone chargers consume power even when they’re not in use? Use a smart power strip or unplug electronics when you’re not using them to save $100-$200 a year.

Clear off the cobwebs. Change your furnace filter and schedule your yearly furnace tuneup to make sure everything is running safely and efficiently, and to save money in the long run.

Right-size your cauldron. Match your pot or pan size with a similar-sized burner. Your witches brew will use heat more efficiently and be ready sooner.

Got goosebumps? Is that chill in the air something spooky, or just a drafty window? Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal gaps and cracks around your home and keep warm air inside.

As always, if you have questions about your bill, give us a call at 800-242-9137. For more energy efficiency tips, visit our website

Friday, October 16, 2020

#FridayGiving: An elephant ton of excitement at the Milwaukee County Zoo

Head over to the Milwaukee County Zoo to check out resident African elephants, Brittany, Ruth and Belle, at the Adventure Africa Elephant Exhibit. The exhibit is thanks in part to a $750,000 gift to the Zoological Society of Milwaukee from the We Energies Foundation. 


The exhibit features a 1.6-acre outdoor habitat, a 20,000-square-foot Elephant Care Center, individual stalls for training and elephant health care, and various indoor and outdoor enrichment activities to keep the elephants happy and healthy.

Zoo visitors are able to view the elephant exhibit and the new multispecies hoofstock exhibit from the We Energies Foundation Elephant Overlook — a second-floor terrace on the southeast corner of the elephant care center. The We Energies Foundation African Forest Garden adds beauty between the two exhibit areas. 




“The We Energies Foundation focuses on creating a brighter future for the communities we serve, and the zoo is a wonderful example of an organization that makes a positive community impact,” said Beth Straka, vice president — We Energies Foundation and senior vice president — corporate communications and investor relations at WEC Energy Group.

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee, a nonprofit that helps fundraise and support the Milwaukee County Zoo, continues to fundraise for their Window to the Wild campaign to complete Adventure Africa. Many of the African animals (impalas, hippos, rhinos, zebras and bongos) will live near one another in new habitats that look and feel expansive and open. Learn more about Adventure Africa.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.


Friday, October 9, 2020

#FridayGiving: Literacy Services helps adults head back to school, improve their lives

When you hear the phrase “back to school” you usually picture little kids heading back into the classroom after summer break. But for Literacy Services of Wisconsin, “back to school” means helping adult learners break down barriers and explore new opportunities for themselves and their families.


We Energies is proud to support Literacy Services as they celebrate 55 years in our community. The organization provides motivated adults with access to quality basic education and skills training so they can improve their lives and strengthen our community. Last year, volunteers and staff helped more than 1,000 adult learners build literacy skills, improve their English and earn high school credentials.



To learn more about Literacy Services’ impact and how you can get involved, visit their website

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies’ Public Service Building taking part in virtual Doors Open

Like many Milwaukee organizations, Historic Milwaukee had a tough choice to make this year: cancel their annual Doors Open event or find a way to adapt. As a proud sponsor of the event, we’re pleased to report they chose the latter — and starting Saturday, Sept. 26, we’ll be taking part in a virtual Doors Open 2020.

In years past, historic buildings have opened their doors to the public as part of a citywide celebration of Milwaukee’s architecture. This year, more than 60 buildings are part of the online festivities, running through Sunday, Oct. 11.

We’re excited to showcase some of the incredible, historic features of the Public Service Building (PSB), our 115-year-old headquarters. Visitors to the PSB webpage will learn that construction began on the building in 1902. It was designed as a central station for The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (TMER&L), a predecessor of We Energies. 

You can still see many of the beautiful neoclassical details from the outside, as well as the replica green doors where rail cars used to enter and exit the building. We’ve posted plenty of pictures of the inside, too. 

To learn more and take part in this year’s virtual event, visit the Doors Open website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state. 

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

#FridayGiving: Our support helps the Addiction Resource Council teach kids to say no

Parents know the transition from middle school to high school can be tough, but the Addiction Resource Council (ARC) in Waukesha County is working to make sure 7th through 9th graders have the skills they need to make good decisions. The We Energies Foundation is proud to support their mission through the Resist the Influence program.



As part of the program, trained professionals teach kids how to recognize negative outside influences and the impact those influences can have on their lives. The goal is to prevent the students from trying e-cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. The program teaches students to make decisions that reflect who they are, not who someone is pressuring them to be.



To learn more about the Addiction Resource Council, visit their website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Educators continue learning with help from the We Energies Foundation

Students are just getting back to school, but many teachers have been working hard throughout the year, continuing their education to prepare their students for success. That’s where the Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC) comes in. The not-for-profit was designed to recruit, support and retain teachers and school leaders in urban settings. 

Teachers gather for training in February 2020


The We Energies Foundation is a proud sponsor of the organization, as it provides teachers with continuous training to help the next generation succeed. Its goal is to increase learning and close achievement gaps through effective teaching.

The current health crisis has taken a toll on students and teachers alike. Although the center provides many different options for educators, MTEC is offering educators training and tools to support students impacted by trauma during the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more about MTEC and its incredible mission, visit its website.

#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Put energy efficiency on your back-to-school list

Back-to-school looks different for a lot of families this year, as many children are still learning at home. We put together some energy-efficient lesson plans that will help you and your stay-at-home students manage energy costs.




Show them this bright idea: Turn off lights when no one needs them. Use dimmer switches on indoor lights and switch to LED bulbs. They use up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

Tell them they have the power: Power strips that is. Many electronics consume energy even when they aren’t being used. Often called energy vampires, these devices can cost up to $100 a year. Plugging chargers, computers and gaming equipment into a power strip lets you turn them off with one switch. Better yet, use a smart power strip. It turns off automatically when devices are not in use.

Soak up knowledge … and savings: The average household spends about $300 a year on water heating costs. Lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees is an easy do-it-yourself lesson to show your kids and help manage energy costs.

Keep minds open and the refrigerator door closed: Did you know we open our refrigerators on average 33 times per day? Minimize the number of times you open your refrigerator door. An open door allows warm, moist air in, which makes the compressor work harder. Pick a snack ahead of time, so you don’t leave the door open too long.

Follow a dress code: As the weather gets cooler, throw on a sweater, rather than cranking up the heat. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat, so no one needs to touch that dial.

It’s never too soon to teach your kids about energy efficiency. For more easy tips visit our website



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

From the archives: We Energies homefront efforts during WWII

Companies nationwide played crucial roles in supporting the Allies throughout World War II, and We Energies was no exception. We Energies — and its employees — had a hand in the ultimate victory, which happened officially on Sept. 2, 1945. 

At Wisconsin Electric Power Co., which later became We Energies, the Public Service Building in downtown Milwaukee was a venue for USO dances, draftee orientation, award ceremonies and other events in support of the war effort. The company participated in the drive to find and recycle usable scrap for military use, and more than 3,000 tons were turned in during 1942 alone.
Although the company participated in government programs to conserve fuel, manpower and materials, and customers were asked to conserve energy, war-time industrial demand for electricity skyrocketed. The system’s combined output more than doubled between 1938 and 1944. Heavy industries accounted for most of the growth.

The company had transit lines then that played a vital role too. The interurban system and trolley buses transported draftees to downtown Milwaukee, where they connected with the train to Fort Sheridan or the Great Lakes naval station for deployment. And as automobile production was suspended and gasoline and tires were rationed, a growing number of factory workers depended on trolleys and buses day and night. Passenger traffic jumped from 218 million riders in 1938 to 428 million in 1944. Signs on company street cars urged citizens to buy war bonds. 

Sadly, sixteen of the 1,014 Wisconsin Electric Power Co. employees who were deployed were lost to the war.



Friday, August 28, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies Foundation announces inaugural Rewarding Responders Grants

The We Energies Foundation is awarding $50,000 in grants to public safety agencies across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula to purchase lifesaving equipment. 

The money is being awarded to more than 30 departments through the inaugural We Energies Rewarding Responders Grants. Each recipient has been awarded up to $2,000.

We Energies President Tom Metcalfe personally awarded a grant to Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing and other members of the Milwaukee Fire Department. They plan to use the grant to purchase a combustible gas detector.



Other recipients include: 

City of Waukesha Fire Department — Waukesha firefighters will use the grant to replace aging carbon monoxide (CO) meters in each of their oxygen delivery bags. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is both colorless and odorless. The department says the CO meters are their first line of defense in protecting paramedics and their patients.

City of Brookfield Fire Department — The Brookfield Fire Department has requested funding to buy firefighter rehabilitation equipment, including a specialized cooling towel. Rehabilitation equipment helps reduce the risk of firefighter injury.

Town of Ixonia Fire Department — The Ixonia Fire Department will use the grant to replace outdated power saws. The fire department keeps the saws on their front line engines and uses them to help extricate victims after car crashes, during fires and even natural disasters.

Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office — The sheriff’s office will use the grant to help fund their public safety drone program. Their goal is to train deputies to become drone pilots, which will help keep the community safe.

City of Port Washington Fire Department — The Port Washington Fire Department requested funding to replace outdated combustible gas and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is both colorless and odorless. Gas detectors can serve as a first line of defense in protecting firefighters and the public.

Appleton Fire Department — The Appleton Fire Department will use the grant to purchase a new fire hose. The fire department has been trying to replace older hoses over the last few years.

West Allis Fire Department — The West Allis Fire Department requested funding to purchase thermal imaging cameras. The cameras help firefighters see hazards through smoke and can help save lives if someone is trapped inside a burning building.

City of Franklin Fire Department — Franklin firefighters plan to use the grant to purchase personal voltage detectors. Voltage detectors can help prevent electrocution if firefighters respond to a scene with downed wires or other electrical equipment.

City of South Milwaukee
— The City will use the grant to purchase portable scene lights. They say that slips, trips and falls are the biggest causes of injuries at emergency incident scenes, with many attributed to poor lighting. Portable lights are easy to use and will make emergency response safer.

Crystal Falls Township Fire Department — The Crystal Falls Fire Department plans to use the grant to upgrade their breathing equipment with newer air bottles. New bottles weigh less, which helps reduce firefighter fatigue.

Nordic Ambulance Service — Nordic Ambulance Service, based in Foster City, requested funding to purchase more portable automated external defibrillators (AEDs). They say the new equipment will reduce response time and save lives.

The grants are part of We Energies’ commitment to safety in the communities the company serves. 

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across its service territory. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies helps bring the Streets of Old Milwaukee to life

The Milwaukee Public Museum has reopened to the public. If you’re planning a trip, make sure to visit the Streets of Old Milwaukee.

From the immersive street car to Granny in her rocking chair to Abby the cat (have you found her yet?), the exhibit always wows visitors. We Energies is proud to support the popular reimagined exhibit through a multi-year financial pledge.


We believe it’s important to support community organizations and businesses in our service area – including museums, art groups and certain sport franchises – all of which bring an economic benefit to the communities we serve and contribute to our quality of life.

If you haven’t seen the new Streets of Old Milwaukee, plan a trip today.


#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our year-long effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Friday, August 14, 2020

#FridayGiving: Helping a Milwaukee family build their dream home

On a warm summer day in Milwaukee, volunteers from We Energies strapped on tool belts, helmets and masks and went to work building a house for Habitat for Humanity.

We Energies President Tom Metcalfe stopped by to thank the volunteers and help out with the build.

“We talk about heroes in the community, and I think We Energies has really stepped up here. We’re not only challenged by storms this time of year and the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re still finding time to put our hearts and soul into some of these important projects,” Metcalfe said.


Over the course of two days, volunteers climbed ladders, hammered nails and sawed wood. Their efforts will help a family build a safe, affordable home.

 

“I could not be prouder of the association we have with Habitat for Humanity,” Metcalfe said. “It goes back 25 years we’ve been supporting this organization, not only with funding, but with volunteers who come out here – giving up their time - to work on these important projects.”



#FridayGiving

Since the early 1980s, We Energies has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the state.

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Spartacus named new safe digging ‘ambassadog’

Dozens of dogs entered and almost 12,000 customers voted. On Aug. 11 (811 day), Spartacus, a 6-year-old, 6-pound Pomeranian from Caledonia, Wisconsin, was named our new safe digging “ambassadog”!

He may be little, but we’re giving him the huge responsibility of reminding our customers to call 811 at least three days before you dig.

Keep an eye out for Spartacus as part of our new ad campaign:

About 811

Whether you’re planting a garden or installing a fence, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas line or electrical cable. Contact 811 at least three days before you dig to have the location of buried utility lines marked — and to keep you and your family safe. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Doggone it! Cast your vote for our next safe digging ‘ambassadog’

Voting is now underway to select the next star of We Energies’ safe digging campaign! The winner will help us promote an important safety message: Doggone it! Call 811 at least three days before you dig.

Dozens of We Energies customers submitted pictures of their pups — we’ve narrowed it down to 10 finalists.

Now, we’re giving you the “paw-some” responsibility of voting for the “ulti-mutt” winner. You can vote as many times as you like between now and Wednesday, Aug. 5.

We’ll reveal our new “ambassadog” Tuesday, Aug. 11 — 811 Day.

About 811

Whether you’re planting a garden or installing a fence, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas line or electrical cable. Contact 811 at least three days before you dig to have the location of buried utility lines marked — and to keep you and your family safe.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Paying it forward: We Energies group supports academic dreams for two local youths

We Energies employee members of the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) – Wisconsin chapter recently presented scholarships to Derek Coleman and Taylor Jagers, two Milwaukee-area high school seniors. The scholarships are part of the group's participation in the Adopt a High School Senior Program.

The Adopt a High School Senior Program was started as a Facebook group dedicated to uplifting Wisconsin’s high school seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coleman and Jagers are graduates of Golda Meir High School and both plan to attend Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).

Coleman is part of the We Energies design apprenticeship program. “Growing up in Milwaukee is no easy task just like life itself,” Coleman said. “There were obstacles along the way that tried to distract and hinder me. It was my responsibility to myself to prevail over these obstacles. Milwaukee has prepared me for the world in the best way.” 

Derek Coleman received funds toward his future education. 

Jagers is pursuing a career in computer engineering. In her free time, she helps care for her disabled grandmother and enjoys listening to music, dancing and coming up with new cookie recipes with her mom. Jaegers says her favorite quote and words to live by are, “You never know until you try, so always give your best; and if you fail, try again.”

Coleman and Jagers each received $1,000 toward their future education. 

Taylor Jeagers (middle) was presented a scholarship
 from We Energies members of AABE-WI

AABE is a nonprofit professional organization that focuses on issues in the energy sector at the national level and serves as professional resources for its members. It promotes educating youth about careers in energy. Additionally, AABE members network on a national basis to help resolve workplace issues via sharing best practices and expertise. We Energies has 22 employees who participate in this organization.

#FridayGiving

Read more about our yearlong effort to highlight some of the incredible organizations we support here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any #FridayGiving posts.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Customers urged to stay connected

We Energies is urging customers who are behind on their energy bills to contact us as soon as possible to avoid disconnection. 

Disconnection is always a last resort 
If you are having trouble paying your bill, visit our website or call us at 800-842-4565. We are here to work with you to arrange a payment plan and connect you to financial assistance options. 

Energy assistance is available 
Some customers may qualify for energy assistance through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have until Sept. 30 to apply. Additionally, income eligibility has been updated to make it easier for people who have been recently laid off. 

Simple ways to manage costs 
There are many ways to manage your energy costs at home and at work. Visit our website for a handy checklist. 

As always, if you have questions about your bill or think you might have trouble paying, call us at 800-842-4565.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Stay cool with these money-saving tips

To help you stay on the sunny side of life, we have some tips to help you save money on your summer energy bill. 



No cost 

Keep the sun out. Close blinds, shades and drapes on the sunny side of your home during the day to keep the house cooler. 

Adjust your thermostat. When at home, set it a few degrees higher to save energy. When you are away, adjust your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees higher than your normal setting for at least 8 hours a day. This can help you save 10% on your energy bill. 

Manage your energy costs with Budget Billing. Budget Billing spreads your annual charges more evenly over 12 months. 

Turn down the heat by delaying heat-producing activities such as cooking, drying and ironing until evenings or when the weather cools.

Leave thermostat’s fan switch on “auto” so the fan only runs when the furnace runs. Setting the fan to “on” causes it to run all the time.

Low cost 

Seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors and siding with caulk and weather stripping. This keeps cool air in and hot air out. 

Use standing fans, even if you have air conditioning. Circulating cool air makes it feel cooler. 

Install a programmable thermostat for your comfort and convenience. It can adjust the air conditioning for times you typically are away and times you typically are home. You also can program it to reduce cooling when you go to sleep and turn it back up before you wake up in the morning. 

Schedule regular tune-ups for your air conditioner. Seasonal maintenance keeps equipment running safely and efficiently, and saves money in the long run. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Bye bye, birdies: We Energies, WPS peregrine falcon chicks leave the nest

The We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) falcon chicks (and their parents) are enjoying some pomp and circumstance after reaching another milestone. The chicks have learned to fly and officially joined the class of 2020.


Blaze was the first chick to spread his wings, and his younger brother, Hoppy, was the last. All of the chicks were named in honor of our favorite things about Wisconsin. 

The fledglings will spend the next few weeks learning how to hunt prey and mastering their flying skills. After that, they’ll head off in separate directions to start their own lives.

This year’s class of chicks brings the total number of peregrines hatched, named and banded at We Energies and WPS power plants to 410 since our recovery efforts began in the mid-1990s.

Peregrine falcon program

We Energies and WPS are honored to be a part of a statewide effort to restore the peregrine falcon population. The Department of Natural Resources added peregrine falcons to Wisconsin’s endangered species list in the 1970s.

This program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Don’t let a balloon blunder leave your neighborhood in the dark

As we head into the summer of stay-at-home celebrations, we want to remind people there is one party staple that could turn your backyard bash into a blackout — a balloon.

Every year, thousands of our customers lose power in balloon-related outages. Just this past weekend, more than 1,500 customers in Milwaukee lost power when a Mylar balloon came into contact with power lines.

Balloons, especially Mylar balloons, can act as conductors and create a short circuit in a power line. Take a look at what happens when Mylar balloons fly into power equipment and see just how dangerous it can be:

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or graduation, or just hosting a summer get-together, follow these steps to keep your family safe and the power on:

·       When possible, keep balloons inside.

·       Never release balloons outside.

·       Make sure all balloons are tied securely to a weight that’s heavy enough to keep them from flying away.

·       When you’re done with balloons, let the air out and throw them in the trash.

·       Never try to retrieve a balloon that has become entangled in a power line.

If you spot a balloon stuck in our equipment, give us a call at 800-662-4797. Don’t let a balloon blunder cut your celebrations short.

Friday, June 12, 2020

#FridayGiving: We Energies Foundation supporting Milwaukee Fire Department and other organizations on the front line of COVID-19 relief efforts

We are proud to announce the We Energies Foundation has committed more than $500,000 in donations to health care, emergency response and other nonprofit organizations on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. 

That includes a special donation to the Milwaukee Fire Department so they can purchase adapters to make their existing personal protective equipment more effective against COVID-19. 

To date, the We Energies Foundation has pledged more than:
• $250,000 to healthcare organizations including Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Aurora Health Care and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. 
• $125,000 to nonprofits committed to keeping families fed, including Hunger Task Force, Feeding America, Racine County Food Bank, Walworth County Food Pantry and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. 
• $125,000 to community organizations including United Way, Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. 


Nonprofit organizations that have not received funding are encouraged to apply for a COVID-19 grant on the We Energies Foundation website. 

To increase the impact of the relief effort, the We Energies Foundation also has earmarked $250,000 to match dollar-for-dollar any personal donations made by employees to organizations fighting the effects of the pandemic.

These donations are part of a commitment from the charitable foundations of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service to contribute $1 million to nonprofits across our service area. 

We are committed to making the communities where we live and serve a better place for all. The only way to get through difficult times like these is to power through together.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Introducing Cream Puff, Bubbler and Tundra: Peregrine falcon chicks officially named and banded

The We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) peregrine falcon chicks are moving on to the next stage of their lives. Thousands of people voted to name the baby birds after their favorite things about Wisconsin. Now, the eight chicks born at our power plants have been given their names and their identification bands. 

Oak Creek Power Plant 

From left to right: 

Scoop (male)

Cream Puff (female)

Bubbler (female)


Valley Power Plant in Milwaukee

From left to right

Brandy (female)
Blaze (male)
Hoppy (likely a male, but too young to band)


Weston Power Plant in Rothschild

From left to right: 

Kringle (male)
Tundra (female)

About the bandings:

During the banding, our peregrine falcon manager gently places a towel over the chick’s head to calm it down. He then carefully attaches a small metal band to each leg. The bands allow people to contact us and let us know if they’ve spotted one of our peregrines in the wild.




There are just a few weeks left to watch the chicks in their nest boxes. They'll fly the nest later this month. Make sure to tune into our live nest box cameras before they say goodbye!

Peregrine falcon program

We Energies and WPS are honored to be a part of a statewide effort to restore the peregrine falcon population. The Department of Natural Resources added peregrine falcons to Wisconsin’s endangered species list in the 1970s.

Since our first successful nest box in the mid-’90s, 410 peregrine falcons have hatched at our facilities. The falcons are drawn to tall structures along Lake Michigan or major rivers, which make many of the We Energies and WPS facilities ideal nesting sites.

This program is another way We Energies and WPS demonstrate environmental stewardship. From helping endangered animals and restoring natural habitats, to building new solar facilities and reducing carbon emissions, we are committed to a cleaner future.

Friday, May 29, 2020

#FridayGiving: Employee volunteers support communities during health crisis ‘We just felt the need to help’

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the resources of local communities and social services organizations. Despite the challenges involved, many We Energies employees have found ways to help out and volunteer safely from their own homes.

Some employees and their family members have assembled face masks to address local shortages. In the Milwaukee area, Donna Olson, senior IT infrastructure consultant, and Ellen Dizard, attorney, participated in #MaskUpMKE, a United Way-supported project that drew over 1,300 community volunteers and produced over 1 million masks for local agencies. Others have donated masks directly to healthcare workers.

“I've made dozens of masks for Children’s Hospital, Froedtert Hospital, and for nurses and CNA friends that requested them,” said Mary Wolter, director — gas regulatory planning policy. “I had some fun with the fabric choices. Most popular were the patriotic ones!” 

Ear savers crocheted by Melodie Falek.
















































To help people wear masks more comfortably, employees also have donated ear savers to hook on to the elastic straps. Jacob Spencer, designer, has 3D-printed them, while Melodie Falek, office assistant, has been crocheting them for medical professionals and other first responders. 

Employees are addressing other community needs, as well. Mary Brooks, office assistant, has volunteered at the St. Catherine Food Pantry in Milwaukee, and Matthew Gertsch, contractor, has made an extra effort to donate blood at a time when the American Red Cross is facing shortages.

Carol O’Leary, specialist III, worked to establish an urban farm to benefit MacCanon Brown Sanctuary, a food pantry and homeless shelter in Milwaukee. 

Volunteers planting peppers and tomatoes at the urban farm Carol O'Leary supported.

In addition to volunteering, many employees have contributed to local organizations and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“Since my husband and I are both still working, we decided to put our stimulus checks to work helping others,” said Cindy Gaffney, IT Service Desk representative, who has donated to restaurants and hair stylists, as well as faith organizations and the Hunger Task Force. “Sure, we could use it on bills or projects around the house, but others are not working, and we just felt the need to help.”

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) — part of the WEC Energy Group family of companies — are contributing $1 million through their charitable foundations to help communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include donations to local United Ways, hospitals, domestic violence shelters, food pantries, youth programs and other organizations on the front lines. For more information about current volunteer needs in your community, visit your local United Way website or search for opportunities.