Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scammers go door to door, phone customers for payments

In person
Scammers have been preying upon our customers this year using a number of tactics. The latest is a door-to-door approach where scammers use smartphones with credit card scanners. Recent reports from Ozaukee County indicate that scammers go to a residence and claim to be collecting utility payments. We never collect payments in person, and we ask any customers to immediately contact police if they encounter these imposters. These scammers also may be using fake We Energies identification cards. To remain safe and avoid falling victim to a scam, call us at 800-242-9137 to verify if an employee is at your property. When in doubt, do not let a stranger into your home.

On phone
Another ploy is known as the Green Dot prepaid debit card scam, which has targeted our customers and those of many other utilities across the nation. In the Green Dot scam, customers receive phone calls from scammers posing as our employees and are told their service will be disconnected unless they make an immediate payment. They are told to purchase a Green Dot or other type of prepaid debit card, load the card with money and then provide the card number over the phone. The scammers may have a fake We Energies caller ID to make the call look legitimate. Do not comply with callers asking for payment with a prepaid debit card. If you have any questions, call us at 800-242-9137.

WISN-TV story

Scammers also have been targeting business customers.

FOX6-TV story

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't shiver yer timbers this winter

Sept. 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Avast ye lubbers! Here be some energy-savin' tips to save yer treasure in th' blust'ry months before ye.

  • Keep yer furnace ship shape. Have th' ol' heatin' contraption eyeballed by a qualified contractor mate. Toss th' filter overboard e'en ev'ry month so ye not be wastin' energy.
  • Plug leaks 'round yer windows and portholes. Keelhaul wintry winds by fortifyin' with caulk 'n' weatherstrippin'.
  • Keep yer quarters' thermostat at 60 degrees when catchin' your winks or leavin' port. Higher when yer up 'n' about. 
  • Be takin' advantage of th' sun be shinin' by openin' yer drapes, blinds, shades and such, me hearties. Like findin' buried treasure it 'tis.
  • Navigate by Energy Star when ye need new windows or energy-efficient appliances, say fer keepin' yer grog cold. 
  • Avast the Focus on Energy site of web for ye Wisconsin landlubbers to be savin' more doubloons as ye batten down yer hatches.

Aaarr... lookin' fer more tips are ye? Try here:

101 Energy-Saving Tips


Friday, September 13, 2013

Company, foundation sponsor Honor Flight book to benefit veterans

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight (SSHF) soon will release a coffee table book that captures the emotion and events of the Honor Flight experience. Proceeds from the book benefit Honor Flight and Fisher House Wisconsin.

Through breathtaking photographs, “Honor Flight: A Visual Journey” celebrates WWII veterans as they travel on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see their memorial. SSHF curated five years of photographs from 18 Honor Flights to find the most moving images that tell the Honor Flight story through the eyes of the nation’s aging heroes.

Proceeds from the book will be shared evenly between Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and Fisher House Wisconsin. SSHF will use the proceeds to fund future Honor Flights out of Milwaukee. Fisher House will break ground at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in early 2014 to build a "home away from home" for veterans so their family members can be close to them during hospitalization for illness, disease or injury.

Our parent company, Wisconsin Energy Corporation, has partnered with Stars and Stripes Honor Flight since its inception, helping sponsor flights, as well as the Field of Honor event in August 2012 at Miller Park. We Energies and the Wisconsin Energy Foundation helped underwrite the book. 

“Honor Flight is all about saying ‘thank you.’ But sometimes thank you is not enough,” says Joe Dean, founder of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. “What we realized during the process of the Honor Flight experience, is that we shouldn't wait 70 years to show our veterans how much we appreciate them. We have young servicemen and women returning from their tours of duty hurt and in need of healing. Fisher House helps our wounded warriors heal with their families close at hand. We want to help make that happen here in southeast Wisconsin. We believe a family's love is good medicine.”

“Honor Flight: A Visual Journey” sells for $100. Visit HonorFlightBook.com or call Stars and Stripes Honor Flight at 262-238-7741 to pre-order the book. The book will be available at any of Steinhafel's 16 locations, Visual Image Photography and other retail outlets beginning Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, 2013.

Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will have two more flights this year, on Sept. 21 and Nov. 2. The November flight will feature two planes, one of which will be exclusively for Korean War veterans. Nearly 2,700 veterans have taken a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight since its inception in the fall of 2008.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Careers page features job openings

One of our employees at the West Bend Service Center recently replaced his garage insulation and while removing the original insulation -- mostly old newspapers from the 1950s -- discovered this advertisement concerning employment at the "Electric Co."

Though our name has changed, and we no longer feature Reddy Kilowatt, we're still interested in finding qualified candidates to join our company. Learn about the types of careers we offer and see openings for various positions on our website's Careers page.

We Energies careers

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More scams reported

As many of you are aware, the Green Dot prepaid debit card scam has grown, and We Energies utility customers continue to be targeted. Now, other scams are being reported too.

Under the Green Dot scam, customers receive phone calls from scammers posing as We Energies utility employees and are told their service will be disconnected unless they make an immediate payment. They are told to purchase a Green Dot or other type of prepaid debit card, load the card with money, and then provide the card number over the phone.

If you receive a call like this, hang up and contact We Energies at 800-242-9137 or your local police department.

Now, another type of scam is targeting customers. Scammers have been impersonating We Energies employees in the field and approaching customers at their homes. Again, using the threat of disconnection, the scammers are demanding immediate payments and are using scanning devices to swipe customers’ debit or credit cards. We Energies does NOT collect payments of any kind in the field.

These scammers also are using fake We Energies identification cards, making the scammers appear legitimate. To remain safe and avoid falling victim, call us to verify if an employee is at your property. You can confirm an employee’s identity by calling 800-242-9137. When in doubt, do not let a stranger into your home.

WISN-TV story

Scammers also have been targeting business customers.

FOX6-TV story

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cool efficiently to save money

Your greatest energy use comes from cooling and heating. During periods of extreme heat, air conditioning can add two or three dollars to your energy costs each day.

To help control central air conditioning costs, adjust your thermostat to a slightly higher setting, dress in cool clothes, use fans and avoid heat-producing activities such as cooking, drying and ironing until evenings. Also, increase the thermostat setting much higher (around 80 degrees) when you are away and then lower it when you are home (around 75 degrees).

Refrigeration uses less energy than air conditioning, but it likely comprises about 6 percent of your energy use. Because refrigerators and freezers produce heat, using them efficiently can save money and take some load off your cooling equipment as well.

Some ways to save on refrigeration:
  • Make sure your refrigerator is set to correct temperature  45 degrees is good for fridge and 0 degrees for freezer.
  • Make sure the seal is good. Keep it clean and replace it if damaged so cold air cannot escape. 
  • Keep vents and coils free of dust to improve efficiency and run less frequently. 
  • Keep refrigerator a couple of inches away from the wall to allow escape of hot air it creates. 
  • Let food cool before putting it into the refrigerator. 
  • Defrost frozen food in fridge rather than wasting water or using a microwave. The frozen food also helps keep the refrigerator cool. A slow defrost also is better for the food. 
  • Keep the doors closed as much as possible. Decide what you want before you open the door, get what you need and get out. Leaving the door opens wastes energy and costs money. 
  • If your freezer requires defrosting, do it when the ice gets ¼-inch thick to avoid wasting energy. 
  • Keep the freezer full. An empty freezer loses much cold air each time it’s opened. If you never have much in there, consider putting empty containers in there to take up the space. 
  • Consider replacing old units with newer Energy Star units, which are more efficient. Replacing refrigerators from the 1970s and 1980s can save $100 to $200 a year. The Energy Star calculator can help you estimate potential savings.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Scammers citing Fox Valley tornados when targeting customers

Customers in the Fox Valley are urged to be on alert for scammers claiming to be We Energies workers.

The scammers are calling customers, mentioning the recent tornados that touched down in the Fox Valley during the call. The callers claim that -- although customers’ power may have been out during the storm -- they still have an overdue bill and are at risk of disconnection. In some cases, the scammers are giving the customers the option of paying the bill in person at a We Energies facility. 

The scammers appear to be trying to legitimize their calls by mentioning both the storms and We Energies facilities. The callers continue pressuring customers to make a payment over the phone with a pre-paid debit card, or “Green Dot” card. This is a scam. We Energies does not solicit payment from customers in this manner. 

These scammers have been targeting customers across our service territory for several months. When the scam was first reported, Spanish-speaking customers were being targeted. Since then, the scammers have branched out. Customers of many different ethnicities have reported the scam. Small business customers also are being targeted. 

Utilities across the country also have had customers victimized by these scammers. From Colorado to California to New York, the scammers have targeted utility customers in many areas. Authorities believe they may be operating from an off-shore location, making them hard to track down. 

If you get a call that sounds suspicious, trust your gut and hang up. Call our Customer Care Center to see if the call really originated from We Energies. By calling 800-242-9137, you can verify if the call received was a scam, check on the status of your account, and verify your payment history.

Related links: Previous scam warnings on our blog and website