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.”

The project has received significant attention from local and national news outlets.

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


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

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.