Thursday, November 29, 2018

Our hallmark of reliability recognized again

In the dictionary, a hallmark is defined as a distinguishing characteristic, trait or feature. Reliability has become our hallmark. For the eighth year in a row, we have been named “Best in the Midwest” for reliability.

PA Consulting presents ReliabilityOneTM awards annually to energy companies that achieve outstanding reliability performance and excel in delivering the most reliable electric service to their customers.

“Our consecutive ReliabilityOneTM awards are a testament to the skill and dedication of our employees, and to the investments we’ve made to ensure reliable, efficient service for our customers,” said Kevin Fletcher, president – WEC Energy Group, parent company of We Energies.

Kevin Fletcher, president – WEC Energy Group, and 
Dave Megna, vice president – Wisconsin System Operations.
Our most recent award is the 11th in the past 13 years in the Midwest, one of six regions in the performance review. 

The review is based primarily on system reliability statistics measuring customer outage frequency and duration. Companies who perform well in those measures then undergo an on-site certification process for its policies, processes and systems related to reliability.

In recent years, we’ve made investments to strengthen our reliability by rebuilding hundreds of miles of our electric distribution network, including wires, poles and transformers. The result? Our outage restoration time was 50 percent better than the national average in 2017.

We’re happy to win the award again but more happy for our customers who rely on us for having power when they need it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Make your holiday cooking energy efficient

Cooking a holiday meal can be stressful not only on the chef but also the energy bill. Use these tips to help cook efficiently during the holidays.

  • Match pots and pans to burners. Using a small pan or pot on a bigger burner can waste more than 40 percent of the heat being produced. Using the smallest pot or pan possible on the proper sized burner not only takes less time to heat but also uses heat more efficiently. 
  • Use sturdy cookware. Cookware with warped bottoms can take up to 50 percent more energy. 
  • Thaw and chop. Two simple ways of reducing cooking time (and energy use) is to completely thaw your food before cooking and to chop vegetables and other food into smaller pieces. Turn on appliances after preparation is completed. 
  • Keep oven door shut. Rather than opening the door, use the oven light. Opening the door can drop the temperature 25 degrees, adding cooking time and energy use to get the heat back to the set temperature. 
  • Use small appliances. Crockpots or toaster ovens use energy better than conventional ovens for smaller dishes or meals. 
  • Cool down. Allow leftovers to cool before refrigerating to reduce the appliance’s work. 
  • Unplug. Most small appliances, such as toaster ovens and coffee makers, consume a small amount of energy even if turned off. When possible, unplug. 
  • Oven and microwave. Food spills and food waste absorb heat, adding to cooking time, so keep the inside clean. 
  • Dishwashers. Fully load your dishwasher because it uses the same amount of energy whether full or not. Avoid rinsing dishes before loading. Most dishwashers can handle crusted food. 
  • Washing machines. Use settings based on laundry load size to make more efficient use of both energy and water. Most detergents work well in cold water.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Manage energy costs and save money with efficiency tips

Looking for inexpensive and easy ways to keep your home comfortable this winter? Manage your energy costs and save money by using energy more efficiently with these tips:
  • Leave your thermostat’s fan switch on “auto” so the fan only runs when the furnace runs. Setting the fan to “on” will cause it to run all the time, whether or not heating is needed. 
  • Adjust your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating by simply lowering your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees F from its normal setting for 8 hours a day. Recommended thermostat settings when you are home are 68 degrees F in winter.
  • Seasonal maintenance keeps equipment running safely and efficiently, which will save you money in the long run. Replacing your filter can help extend the life of your HVAC unit, improve air quality in your home and keep your energy costs down. 
  • Use shades, blinds and drapes to help while heating your home. Open them to let the sun’s natural heat warm your home. This not only helps you cut back on heating bills but also saves money on your lighting bills. Make it a habit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Words of gratitude for 10th anniversary Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

We again partnered with Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to fly 145 veterans to Washington, D.C., Saturday, Nov. 3. The event welcomed three World War II veterans, seven Korean War veterans and 135 Vietnam War veterans. The day marked the 10th anniversary of the organization’s first flight. Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has flown over 6,000 WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to tour Washington’s WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and more.

We Energies employees served as volunteers on flight day.
Over the years, our participation in these flights has offered our employees the opportunities to serve as guardians for the veterans, be part of the volunteer crews on flight day, and write letters of thanks given to veterans on the return flight.

Two employee guardians on the Nov. 3 flight, Jessica Banike (U.S. Air Force and Wisconsin Air National Guard) and Elton Rushlau (U.S. Navy), are both veterans themselves.

Banike accompanied Willie Seales, a Vietnam veteran who served with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Rushlau accompanied two veterans, Mike Beres and Gregory Osborne. Both served in Vietnam for the U.S. Air Force.
Employee Jessica Banike and Vietnam veteran Willie Seales
at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
Seales, Beres and Osborne thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were very appreciative of everything that it took for their special day to happen. Seales pointed out that he received more words of gratitude for his service that day than he had received since he returned from Vietnam. 

Employee Elton Rushlau with Vietnam veterans Mike Beres and Gregory Osborne.
Honor Flight is a national program with more than 130 hubs from coast to coast. The WWII Memorial did not open until 2004, and many veterans are unable to visit Washington, D.C., without assistance. The average age of a WWII veteran is 93 years old, and only five years separate the average WWII veteran from the average Korean War veteran. Nationally, hubs in the Honor Flight network have taken well over 200,000 veterans to see their memorials.

Friday, November 9, 2018

We Energies named Veteran Friendly Workplace of the Year

We proudly support those who have served our country by fostering employment opportunities for military veterans, knowing that many possess the specialized skills and leadership abilities critical in providing safe and reliable energy. These efforts recently were recognized by USO Wisconsin when it named We Energies as the 2018 Veteran Friendly Workplace of the Year at their annual Heroes of Wisconsin Gala on Oct. 20.

USO Wisconsin award was presented to We Energies on Oct. 20.
“We were up against some very stiff competition, and our selection as the Veteran Friendly Workplace of the Year is a testament not only to the efforts the company has made to actively recruit veterans but also the support they receive once they are hired,” said Joe Griffin, manager – power generation support, who accepted the award on behalf of the company.

A veteran himself (he spent eight years as an MP in the Marines), Griffin also helps lead the company’s business resource groups that launched earlier this year. Called the Military Service Members Association (MSMA), the group supports employees who are veterans or currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves, and their family members.

MSMA’s mission is to:
  • Increase engagement and retention of employees who are either: 
    • Veterans 
    • Currently serving in the National Guard/Reserves 
    • Family members of the two previous categories 
  • Assist with the transition of veterans into civilian life and the company. 
  • Provide awareness for nonveteran employees regarding the numbers and diversity of our veterans and the valuable leadership skills gained as part of their military experience. 
“With Veterans Day approaching, we would like to thank our military service members and their families for the sacrifices they have made, and continue to make, in order to protect the freedoms we hold dear,” Griffin added.

Veterans and active military personnel interested in a career with a future are always encouraged to apply with We Energies.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Get ready for winter

Winter is a challenging time for energy usage and safety. Review these winter tips to stay comfortable without spending a lot of money and to stay safe throughout the winter months.

Energy-saving tips
Here are some ideas to save money on heating:
  • Open shades, blinds and drapes to gain the sun’s heat during the day and close them at night to help retain heat. 
  • Adjust your thermostat downward when asleep or away. You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating by turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit from its normal setting (about 68 F in winter) for 8 hours a day. 
  • Leave the 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 (and use energy), whether or not heating is needed.
  • Turn your thermostat down to 55 F if using a fireplace. Older, wood-burning fireplaces tend to be inefficient and can be costly, drawing more heated air out of your home through the chimney than a fire can produce. So, turn the thermostat down when you cozy up in front of the fire. After the fire is out, close the flue damper to keep warm air in the house.
Energy safety
Staying safe around electricity and natural gas is important year round, but winter requires some special considerations:
  • Keep electric and natural gas meters as well as air vents clear of snow and ice. Use a broom or hands (not a shovel, salt or ice-melting chemical). 
  • If you smell natural gas, move away and call us at 800-261-5325 or call 911.
Energy assistance
If you have questions about payment options, call our payment assistance line at 800-842-4565. Many customers in Wisconsin qualify for help in paying energy bills. If you qualify, apply now for energy assistance for the winter heating season. Learn more:
Energy assistance

Power outage preparation
We work to maintain a reliable power delivery system, but severe weather and other events sometimes cause power outages that require many hours and even days to address. Be prepared and know what to do should a power outage occur:
Outage safety tips

Scammers claiming to be from an energy company may call or show up on your doorstep demanding money. Don't let a scammer ruin your holidays. Learn about these scammers and what to do: