Monday, April 28, 2014

And the winner is... Freeway!

Freeway, a 2-year-old male hound mix from Lisbon, is the winner of our Safe Digging campaign photo contest.

Freeway was adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society after being found in a box on the side of the interstate – hence, the name Freeway. His owner, Erin Hennessy, submitted this picture of Freeway digging around a stump in the yard.

He made such good headway that Erin posted the picture on Facebook with the caption “Stump removal by Freeway.” Erin eventually called in a professional to finish the job, and she says they were sure to call 811 first. So who better to help spread the word about safe digging than Freeway?

Outdoor projects can turn dangerous if an underground utility line is struck. That’s why it’s important to call Diggers Hotline in Wisconsin or Miss Dig in Michigan at least three days before any project that involves digging.

Freeway is helping us spread this important safety message: Doggone it! Call 811 (in any state) before you dig.

We received a big response to our Safe Digging photo contest. More than 1,700 votes were made for our top 10 finalists. Ellie of Brookfield was the runner up – a close second to Freeway. Thank you to all who entered pictures and voted.

Remember, call 811 before you dig.
Wisconsin: Diggers Hotline
Michigan: Miss Dig

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vote for top dog

Thank you to everyone who submitted pictures of their dogs for consideration in our Safe Digging campaign.

We received a lot of great entries; it’s hard to pick a favorite. We need your help. We’ve narrowed the candidates down to 10 finalists and ask you to vote for your favorite. Whatever canine makes the cut will get a cameo in our Safe Digging campaign. 

With the nice weather finally here, people are eager to do yard work, but any project that involves digging should be considered dangerous if underground utilities are present. The winner will help us get the warning out. Doggone it! Call Diggers Hotline (811) before you dig. 

Votes will be accepted through the weekend. The winner will be announced here on Monday, April 28, as well as our other social media. 

At right are a couple of finalists. See the rest and cast your vote! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recognizing Earth Day and Arbor Day at We Energies

We're joining others across the United States in celebrating Earth Day today and Arbor Day on April 25. The holidays are in line with our environmental commitment and our efforts to provide dependable and reliable service, while using best-practice vegetation management techniques.
Earth Day, established by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin on April 22, 1970, is a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. Earth Day is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Arbor Day, first held on April 10, 1872, is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.

A sampling of some of our activities and accomplishments:
  • We have repeatedly been named a Tree Line USA award winner by The Arbor Day Foundation. The award recognizes work to protect and enhance urban forests, and working with residents, contractors, organizations and municipalities on tree care and protecting trees during trimming and construction activities. 
  • We help educate the public on safe and effective planting and landscaping, and working safely around utility facilities.
  • We support Earth Day activities, such as the Menomonee Valley Earth Day cleanup on Saturday, April 26.
  • Our Energy for Tomorrow renewable energy program makes it easy for our customers to make a difference in the environment by increasing electricity production from energy sources such as wind, water, solar and landfill gas. 
  • We support peregrine falcon recovery efforts with nest boxes at five of our power plants in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.
More information about our environmental initiatives: 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Working with customers to Stay Connected

Wisconsin moratorium on shutoffs ends today

We urge customers who are behind on their energy bills to get caught up before the end of the shutoff moratorium. Customers in significant arrears are at risk of disconnection starting April 16.

We launched our Stay Connected campaign earlier than usual because of the extreme winter. Customers have seen their heating bills increase from last year, largely due to a sharp increase in the consumption of natural gas.

If you're having trouble paying your bill, 
contact us as soon as possible 
to stay connected.
We used phone calls, bill inserts and other messaging to alert customers who are behind on their bills.

Unfortunately, scammers have been known to prey on customers during this time of the year. Customers who receive suspicious phone calls or emails should contact us directly to verify their account status.

We offer several options to prevent disconnection:
  • Flexible payment plans. 
  • Energy assistance funds for qualifying customers. 
  • Budget billing to spread energy expenses more evenly over 12 months. 
Customers having problems paying their bills are encouraged to contact us as soon as possible. They can select a payment option and learn more about energy assistance by calling 800-842-4565. Customers also can visit our website to learn more about online payment options.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Safe Digging campaign goes to dogs

You know that face your dog makes when they know they’ve done something wrong? We’re hoping to capture it on camera.

If you’ve ever caught your furry friend digging for a bone -- or anything else -- in the back yard, please share your picture. We’re hoping for a canine cameo in our Safe Digging campaign.

If your pooch makes the cut, the picture will be displayed in our promotional material. Your K-9 friend can help raise awareness about safe digging -- an important safety issue.

With the nice weather finally here, people are eager to do yard work, but any project that involves digging can turn dangerous if an underground utility line is struck. Your dog can help us get the message out: Doggone it! Call Diggers Hotline (811) before you dig.

Entries for Safe Digging campaign photo must be received by Tuesday, April 22.

Cold spring increased natural gas prices, usage and bills

Cold weather that started in the winter months, continued into the spring, causing more natural gas use for home heating -- not just in Wisconsin but many areas of the nation.

The greater use nationwide led to higher natural gas prices on the spot market, where utilities go to buy additional natural gas to meet higher-than-expected demand. Such costs show up on customer bills as PGA, or purchased gas adjustments.

Learn more about PGA and how we keep prices as low as possible

Managing your costs
Here are some options to help manage energy bills:
  • Saving energy. You can use energy more wisely going forward to keep more money available to pay bills and meet other needs. Energy-saving ideas 
  • Switching to budget bill. You can even out your payments and avoid spikes that can occur during cold winters and hot summers. You pay the same each month, with semi-annual adjustments for actual usage. Budget bill information 
  • Setting up a payment plan. You may qualify for a flexible payment plan to help you catch up on your bills. Payment plan information 
Want more information? 
Email or call us anytime at 800-242-9137.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Honored as Tree Line USA utility 16 years in a row

We recently were designated a Tree Line USA Utility for the 16th consecutive year. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, the designation recognizes efforts to provide dependable and reliable service, while using best-practice vegetation-management techniques.

Tree Line USA recognizes public and private utilities that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America’s urban forests. The program promotes the dual goals of safe, reliable electric service and abundant, healthy trees across utility service areas.

We achieved the Tree Line USA designation by meeting five program standards. Utilities must follow industry standards for quality tree care; provide annual worker training in best tree-care practices; sponsor a tree-planting and public-education program; maintain a tree-based energy-conservation program; and participate in an Arbor Day celebration.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beware of scammers as shutoff moratorium ends

April 15 is the end of the winter shutoff moratorium, and scammers have been known to prey on customers during this time of the year. Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in scam activity.

But the good news is that few customers are falling victim. Our efforts to raise awareness about scams are working. Customers have heard our warnings, hung up on the scammers and called us to report the attempts. We thank our customers for reporting this activity as we continue to raise awareness.

   Don't comply with callers asking for energy bill 
payments using a Green Dot prepaid debit card.
One common scam involves the Green Dot prepaid debit card. A caller tells you to go to the store and buy a prepaid debit or credit card. You are told to load the card with a specific amount of money and then provide the card number to the scammer. Do not comply with callers asking for payment with a prepaid debit card.

If you’re behind on payments, avoid falling prey to these scammers and contact us right away so there is no confusion about the status of your account. If you get a call that sounds suspicious, it is. Hang up immediately and call us at 800-242-9137. We can verify the status of your account and determine if the call you received was a scam.

Fox6 News story