Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And the winner is…

It was a “ruff” competition, but the winner – or winners – of our Safe Digging contest are: Darby and Boca! 

Darby and Boca in their winning photo.
At right is the picture of the two vizslas that garnered the most votes in our online contest. More than 2,100 votes were cast, and Darby and Boca captured the majority.

Their owner, Teresa Rizzo of Burlington, Wisconsin, used her own social media savvy to get friends and followers to support the dynamic duo. Boca is 7 years old and is Darby’s mother. Darby turns 4 in August.

Boca and Darby like digging.
Since you can’t see the pair’s faces in their contest entry, we asked Teresa to send us another picture of her pets. They actually have their own
Facebook page, and you can follow them at:

Rustic Road Vizslas 

Thanks to all who voted in the contest and special thanks to all the pet
owners who submitted photos. We received dozens of fantastic entries. Our first runner up, Bucky, also garnered a lot of votes. 

Stay tuned for Darby and Boca’s Safe Digging ad which will be unveiled at Energy Park at the Wisconsin State Fair on Aug. 11 (8-11), a day to raise awareness about dialing 811 three days before you dig.
First runner-up Bucky.

Darby and Boca will help us spread an important safety message: Doggone it! Call Diggers Hotline (811) before you dig. Their ad will be displayed on stadium TVs at Miller Park, and they’ll get a basketful of doggy treats.

Congrats to Darby, Boca and the Rizzo family!

Safe digging tips

Monday, July 25, 2016

Holiday cookies in July?

It’s never too early to think about the holidays. The calendar may say July, but we’re already designing this year’s We Energies Cookie Book.

We just had our photo shoot for the 2016 edition, which will be released in November. Food stylist Jennifer Janz and food photographer Grace Natoli Sheldon worked with our design team to create mouth-watering images.

This year’s book is entitled “The Wisconsin Heritage Edition” and will feature recipes from some familiar faces. Former Olympian Bonnie Blair, comedian John McGivern and gardening guru Melinda Myers are among those whose recipes are included. The 2016 Cookie Book will feature more than 30 holiday cookie recipes.

The We Energies Cookie Book is a tradition that dates back more than 85 years. Company home economists put together the first edition as a goodwill gesture to customers.

Today, the tradition is still going strong with thousands of people lining up at Milwaukee’s Miller Park every year for a free copy of the book. Mark your calendars now – our signature events at Miller Park and Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton are on Saturday, Nov. 5. Distribution events will be held at several other locations throughout our service territory as well.

Be sure to visit our Cookie Book page for links to previous books, plus a video detailing the history of the book. We’ll post a copy of this year’s distribution schedule as soon as it’s finalized.

Fox6 news story

Monday, July 18, 2016

12 finalists make the cut in Safe Digging contest

We asked for pictures of digging dogs and you delivered. Our Safe Digging contest fetched more than 70 entries. It was “ruff” narrowing down the list of finalists, but a dozen dogs made the cut:

These lucky dogs are the finalists (click to enlarge).

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

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

Finalists, don’t “fur-get” to tell family and friends to vote by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 25. The winner will be announced the following day. Good luck and thank you to all who submitted photos.

Safe digging tips

Friday, July 15, 2016

Crews install osprey platform in Racine County

Crew assembles nesting platform in Racine County.
A pair of ospreys in northwest Racine County now has a new option to call home. Our crews recently installed a nesting platform in the Tichigan Wildlife Area, giving the pair a safer option than atop our utility poles.

Ospreys frequently attempt to nest on top of our equipment, which can result in power outages and harm to the ospreys. Since 1980, our field crews have constructed alternative nest structures for the birds, in areas where nests are known. These efforts have supported the recovery of ospreys, which now exceed more than 500 breeding pairs in Wisconsin alone.

Crew erects completed platform.
The new platform is approximately 60 feet high in an area being restored to native prairie and wetlands overlooking the Fox River and Tichigan Lake. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) staff observed a pair of osprey in this area earlier this year. The hope is that they’ll find and use the new platform next nesting season.

We’re working with the WDNR to erect several new nest platforms in Racine and Kenosha counties on public lands near the Fox River. Ospreys have been observed frequenting these areas in recent years, but have limited nesting opportunities. These additional platforms will aid overall osprey recovery.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fox kits raised at substation

Neighbors have expressed some concerns about a family of foxes living at one of our substations in Racine. We have been monitoring this family with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources since the spring. We would like to set the record straight about these foxes.

Foxes sometimes build dens at our substations. The Racine foxes have a way to enter and leave as they please and are not trapped as some customers have stated in social media. Our substations have high fences that provide a safe environment from predators, including coyotes and humans that might prey on the foxes.

Young foxes, also called kits, typically are born in March and leave the den in mid- to late summer. Our substations often are close to a habitat that has food sources good for raising the kits.

Some customers have brought a concern to us that a bird of prey was seen at the substation. The bird was a turkey vulture. Those birds eat dead animals and trash and are no threat to the foxes.

When kits are young, they venture short distances immediately around the den. They often are seen near the den playing and exploring their environment.

Our equipment is not at risk from foxes. Some animals chew on wires and cables, and can cause equipment failure and power outages. There are no concerns of this type of behavior with the foxes.

There are two solutions regarding fox dens at our substations. The first solution is to leave them alone and allow time for them to leave the den on their own. The second is to live trap and relocate them. We did contact a licensed trapper and attempted to trap the foxes, but the foxes were too clever for that operation.

Typically, live trapping has a very minimal potential for success, and relocation can place them in another fox’s territory.

Our preference is to allow fox families to be raised and dispersed on their own, which will occur with this family very soon.

We have observed a kit already leaving and believe the rest of the family will follow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Safe Digging campaign goes to the dogs

Have you ever caught your dog digging in the back yard? Share your picture – your pet could be the star of our Safe Digging campaign.

We’re looking for a furry friend to help raise awareness about safe digging. If your pet makes the cut, his/her picture will be featured in We Energies promotional material – including ads on the Miller Park stadium TVs and a grand unveiling at Energy Park at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Your dog can help us spread an important safety message: Doggone it! Call Diggers Hotline (811) before you dig. Whether you’re planting a tree or installing a fence post, you could be putting yourself in danger if you strike an underground natural gas line or electrical cable.

The ad featured here shows “Freeway,” the winner of our most recent Safe Digging campaign. A similar ad will be developed with this year’s winner. If you’re interested in entering, send a picture to:


Remember, we’re specifically looking for photos of dogs digging.
  • One entry per person (one picture)
  • Must be a We Energies customer
  • Include pet’s name and address
  • Photo quality of at least 150 dpi
  • Use .jpg or .tiff format, if possible
Photos must be submitted by 5 p.m. on July 14.

We’ll narrow down the entries to a list of finalists for a public vote. The winner will be unveiled in a ceremony at Energy Park on Aug. 11 (8-11), a day to raise awareness about dialing 811. The winner will receive tickets to the Wisconsin State Fair, a prize basket of treats for their famous furry friend and bragging rights about their canine’s cameo at both Miller Park and Energy Park.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Balloons cause power outage to thousands

A power outage caused by Mylar balloons contacting power lines affected nearly 6,000 customers in Wauwatosa over the holiday weekend. 

The outage occurred just before 7 p.m. on Sunday night. Our crews found that Mylar balloons made contact with our equipment causing a wire to come down in a residential area. Repairs were made, and a new wire was installed. All customers were restored after a few hours.

Helium-filled metallic or Mylar balloons caused more than a dozen power outages in 2015, affecting more than 21,000 of our customers. The metallic surface of the balloons can act as a conductor that can create a short circuit in a power line.

When balloons are found on power lines, they typically are located in residential areas. That is cause for great concern because lines could fall across fences or in front of homes.

No matter the cause, downed power lines can be energized and dangerous. Always stay at least 25 feet away and tell others to do the same. Call us at 800-662-4797 to report the downed line.