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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last Day of Summer & Apple Streusel Bars


I can't believe the summer has come to an end for us!  It has been unusually cool for Oklahoma, and we  just had to spend our last day of summer outside this morning!


Love my happy and carefree girls.  


Although there can be a LOT of fighting, pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth in our house...these girls truly do love and care for one another!  It's such a beautiful thing to watch them grow up together.  

I also have to share this recipe.  I have been craving apple pie, apple crisp and apple oatmeal lately.  These are wonderful.  They have a wonderful, flaky, pastry-like crust and a nice crumble topping.  I did make a few changes to the recipe which I will post in italics!  I hope y'all have a wonderful rest of your summer!

Apple Streusel Bars

Sweet Pastry:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten

Apple Filling:
1/2 cup sugar (i used 1/4)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (i used 2 teaspoons)
4 cups sliced, peeled apples (i used gala and fuji)

Glaze: (i cut the glaze recipe in half)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract (i used vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish (i used a 9x9 to have thicker bars...just increased baking time by about 10 minutes).

For the crust mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until you have pea-sized crumbles.  Stir in the beaten egg.  Gently press about 2/3 of the mixture onto the bottom of the dish.

To prepare the filling toss the apples with the sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Spread over the crust.

Sprinkle the remaining pastry mixture over the apples and bake for 40 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.

Allow to cool completely and prepare the glaze.  Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and extract until blended.  Drizzle over the bars and allow the glaze to set.

ENJOY!!!





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Baby Bump Update - 100 Days Left!


I can't believe we will meet our little guy in just 100 days (countdown set to my scheduled c-section)!  I was shocked when I looked at my countdown app a couple nights ago!  This little guy keeps me up at night.  On average I have slept maybe 3-4 hours a night the last couple weeks.  I have to visit the bathroom at least once every hour.  I have to ice my back throughout the day. I HAVE to eat cereal and look at Pinterest late at night.  Usually at 12:30 on the dot.  My allergies are so brutal right now, I can't breathe.  But the funny thing is, I enjoy it.  It's quiet, and I get to spend time with just Beckham.  It's the time he is most active, and I know that I won't be pregnant again so I'm really soaking it all in.

Beckham's due date is Thanksgiving Day.  Of course, he will be here before that, but he's our little Thanksgiving Baby!  I really enjoyed summer, especially since the heat has been so mild here in Oklahoma, but I am SO ready for fall.  The weather, the activities, the FOOD, the multitude of pumpkin desserts, and the holidays with a sweet new baby boy.

The next couple months will FLY by I know, so I'm also trying to enjoy these moments with my girls.  Brooke starts school on Thursday and turns FIVE in just a few weeks.  The twins start school (one day a week) in September.  Tear. They are all so excited....I can't believe how big they are getting to be.   


We got a LOT done this weekend in Beckham's Nursery.  I wanted to add a few rustic elements to his room, so I found a branch that worked perfectly (and was free!) for the curtain rod.  I finished making the bed skirt with stitch witchery, of course.  Total cost for the skirt was $5!  I love looking in there and seeing it all come together!

Here are a few funnies from the sisters lately....they are really cracking me up with all their questions.

"Did Beckham go poop?  You need to change his diaper, he stinks" - Lauren (while going #2)

"Did Beckham take a nap when I did?  Oh he's still sleeping - WAKE UP BECKHAM!!!" - also Lauren

"I need to give Kep-bam kisses and hugs" - Lily (sometimes she confuses his name, but she is always hugging and kissing my belly)

"Does Beckham want some of my cookie (as she smears a fudge round all over my shirt)?" - Lily

"Wow mom your belly is getting big, but not too big yet.  You look so cute" - Brooke

I love them.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fox Valley restoration completed

As of 11 a.m., we have restored electric service to all Fox Valley customers affected by Wednesday's severe storm. This morning new power outages were reported, and we are working to resolve those just as quickly and as safely as possible.

We replaced more than 10 miles of distribution lines, 157 utility poles and 92 transformers in a three-day period in the wake of six tornados in the area. As a follow-up, we also are inspecting equipment in the area that may have suffered damage that could lead to future outages.

We appreciate the kind support of customers who shared food and drink with our crews as well as compliments and words of encouragement during the restoration effort. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spiced Peach Muffins....and a few freezer recipe links!


TWO recipes on the blog in one week?!? That's a record for me lately.  Usually the only time I bake these days is when I am taking a meal to someone, or if I am getting paid to make cupcakes.  :)  I have really been trying to stock our freezer with meals, snacks and breakfast food the last couple weeks.  Although I have had a better pregnancy than the last two, there are still some very rough days.  I can't tell you how awesome it is to have home-cooked meals to throw in the oven so my family can eat well if I'm not up for cooking.  When I first mentioned this freezer idea to Landon he thought I was crazy and that all the meals would be freezer burnt.  Last night while eating his baked spaghetti, he said "wow honey, this freezer meal idea is fantastic".  Men.

Here's what's in our freezer right now and some links to a few recipes!


Pioneer Woman Sloppy Joes - I made these with turkey and froze in individual portions.  I also froze some leftover hamburger/hotdog buns to pair with these! It's perfect to make Landon a hot sandwich when he gets home from work.  It's one of our staple recipes.

Baked Spaghetti  - Just penne noodles (cooked), homemade meat sauce, cheddar and parmesan cheese Bake at 350 until warmed through!  This is always a kid favorite around here.

Poppyseed Chicken Casserole - love this recipe - I also layered white rice on the bottom of the dishes before layering the casserole.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos - Another staple - I usually leave the onions, cilantro and green salsa out for the kids.  I made a double batch of these and we are tearing through them.

Spiced Peach Muffins - I'm a Georgia Girl at heart.  I miss a lot of things about that place, but I really miss the peaches.  My mother-in-law was so nice to pick all of us sisters up some peaches from Porter.  They are amazing.  About as close to Georgia peaches as you can get here in Oklahoma, so naturally I just had to make some peach muffins.  These are spiced - which Landon wasn't a huge fan of, but you could omit the allspice and nutmeg to suit your taste.  I really enjoyed these - they tasted like a peach pie/cobbler right out of the oven!

Spiced Peach Muffins
(makes 20-24 muffins)

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (if you leave out the other spices, you may want to add extra cinnamon)
2 eggs
3/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk
4 peaches, diced
granulated sugar for toping ( i used raw turbinado sugar)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375  Grease (or line) muffin pans.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar and spices into a large bowl.  Stir in the eggs, oil and milk.  Gently fold in the fruit.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until done.  

Enjoy!!!



Fox Valley storm restoration update

Since Wednesday’s early morning storms, crews have restored service to more than half of the nearly 60,000 who last power in the Fox Valley.

Hundreds of workers from our own crews as well as supplemental crews from contractors and other utilities are working around the clock to complete restoration. Hour to hour, more customers are seeing their service restored, and we expect that 90 percent of our customers in the Fox Valley will have service restored by Friday evening. The remainder -- in areas with most severe damage -- should be restored by Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service has confirmed that two tornadoes, with winds up to 90 mph, hit the Fox Valley very early Wednesday, causing major damage to our electrical network and the transmission system. More than 60 poles and 500 wires were knocked down during the storm. In many cases, we need to completely rebuild much of our network.

Fox6 News video:


Residents in Waupaca and Outagamie counties seeking shelter following storm damage can use the following shelters:

New London Elementary School
1300 Werner-Allen Drive

The New London American Red Cross shelter is near the border of Waupaca and Outagamie counties and can serve either county’s constituents.

Outagamie County along with the Red Cross also set up a shelter at:
Appleton West High School
Emmanuel Gym
610 N. Badger St.

Crews replace power lines in Little Chute.



Tree damage such as this example from Hortonville 
shows how much debris must be removed before 
electric service can be restored. Similar situations 
exist throughout the Fox Valley.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fox Valley storm restoration update

Severe storms with winds reported up to 90 mph passed through the Fox Valley service area early Aug. 7, causing extensive damage to our electrical network and the transmission system. At the storm’s peak, about 60,000 We Energies customers, including several major businesses, were out of service. Approximately 6,500 customers had been restored as of 9 a.m.

We are drawing upon resources from throughout our service area to safely restore service to the remaining customers without power.
Poles and wires on French Road near Freedom, Wis., 
are down as far as the eye can see.
The storm caused extensive damage to poles, wires, substations, transmission lines and some bulk electric system transformers. Although we will continue to make progress restoring power today, restoration will not be completed quickly, and it may take several days before all customers are restored. In some areas, we may need to completely rebuild much of the electric distribution network.

Customers should call 800-662-4797 to report outages and to stay at least 25 feet away from downed wires and anything touching them. No accidents or injuries have been reported at this time.

To see the extent of the outages, view our outage map

Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts with Strawberry Frosting



I can't believe my little Brooke will be turning FIVE in just a few weeks.  Donuts are her most favorite breakfast treat.  We decided on a breakfast donut bash to celebrate, so I whipped up these yummy donuts for a mini "photo-shoot"!  They are super tasty - I'm not a huge donut fan, but these are very cake-like and the frosting is delicious. I posted a picture on instagram, and had a few requests for the recipe, so I thought I would share the recipe I used on the blog today!  Next time, I think I will make these chocolate cake donuts using the same strawberry frosting.  Yum....


Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts with Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Donuts:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp strawberry gelatin powder (or raspberry, cherry, etc.)
sprinkles

Preheat Oven to 325.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients until blended.  Put all the batter in a large ziploc bag and cut the corner.  Fill the donut pan 3/4 full with batter.  Bake donuts for 10-12 minutes.  I also used a mini donut pan, and I baked those for about 7-8 minutes.  I always press lightly on the donut while it's baking, and if it springs back I call it done!  :)  Remove from the pan and allow the donuts to cool before glazing.

To prepare the glaze add the milk, cream and vanilla to a saucepan over low heat.  Stir and heat until warm.  Whisk in the gelatin mix and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar.  Remove from the heat.  ***I made 1/2 of this recipe for the glaze mix and it sufficiently covered all my little donuts!***

Dip the tops into glaze and immediately add the sprinkles.  I did a few at a time, the glaze hardens quickly and I wanted my sprinkles to stick!

Enjoy!!!  I kept mine in a ziploc container overnight, and I think they tasted better this morning!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thirty-One


Last week we celebrated my birthday and I turned thirty one.  I feel like Landon and I just got married, yet at the same time I physically feel more like 40.  

I always said Landon and I would enjoy married life before having kids....

 That I would never have kids after 30....

That I would only have two kids....

That I would never go "let myself go".....

Well God had other plans for our family, and I'm so thankful he did!

Brooke was our honeymoon baby (on birth control), and #2 and #3 turned out to be twins.  I'm pregnant with Number FOUR!  My belly is expanding by the day, and sometimes I struggle to keep up with my beautiful and energetic girls.  

Yep, I'm that mom that wears workout clothes in public and forgets to put on makeup sometimes.  My makeup routine consists of eyeliner and mascara....eyeshadow for "special" occasions.  I have tried every foundation, BB Cream, and tinted moisturizer there is, but my skin is ultra sensitive and they don't work for me.  So mascara and eyeliner it is - there are permanent bags and wrinkles that just can't be hidden.

BUT....

I wouldn't trade my life for anything, or wish to be in my twenties again.  Each year has brought great blessings.  Those bags under our eyes represent four special gifts that God has given us.  Our children.  We didn't get a chance to be "free"...but life with children has been amazing for us and has taught us SO much about ourselves and about how faithful our God is. I would give anything up for my kids...my time, my energy, my dreams.  For Landon it represents how hard he works for our family.  I'm so thankful for a husband that provides for our family, takes care of us and shows us his love. He is such an example to me and the kids of our heavenly Father.

 These stretch marks represent God's handiwork - the opportunity to experience the miracle of life and feel a baby growing inside me.  Those marks are not ugly, but beautiful and I have grown to appreciate and accept them.

I'm so thankful for another year....one that I am really looking forward to!  Every day is a gift from God!





Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby Bump Update & a NAME!!!


We finally came up with the perfect name for our little guy.  


Beckham Andrew. His initials will spell "BAM" which wasn't intentional, but very fitting if any of you know Landon's personality.  We love it and think it fits our family just right!  I can't wait to see what he will look like!  We had our major ultrasound at 22 weeks.  We saw all his little fingers and toes.  Everything looked great, and he is even measuring a week (his head TWO!) ahead of schedule.  I'm thankful for a healthy baby and a very active companion.  During the ultrasound we thought he looked just like Lily!


Here's Lily on the left at 21 weeks.  Beckham on the right at 22 weeks.  I just love technology!


I've been really praying and researching VBAC options.  I have a great doctor who is also a great surgeon, and I was able to recover from my C-Section fairly quickly than I expected (even without pain meds). With three girls and a baby, I really would love to avoid the surgery if possible and talked to my doctor about options at my appointment.  We scheduled a C-Section for 39 weeks.  If I happen to go into labor before then, we will try to pursue the VBAC.  I am finally at peace with the decision, knowing that if God wants me to deliver VBAC He will allow everything to fall into place before the surgery date.  I kept in mind the trauma with Brooke, and almost having to be taken to a C-Section. I want to do what is best for Beckham and I.  I know God is going to take care of us either way and I am trusting Him completely!


I have been SO indecisive this pregnancy.  About everything.  I second guess almost every decision I make, and that's not like me!  After returning two sets of bedding, I finally decided on something that I just LOVE!  It's very neutral, clean and simple.  I am currently working on a bedskirt out of the chevron fabric, and am almost done refinishing a dresser to use as a changing table.  I can't wait to see the room come together in the next couple months!  Of course, I will post some pictures when It's all done!


I'm so thankful for sweet girls that are so excited to meet their baby brother.  There are times where I get overwhelmed and wonder how we will get along with 4 kids.  Then I remember that God never gives us more than we can handle!  I can trust Him to take care of us just as He always has!

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."   -Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why we advertise … and how it’s paid

You have heard it at the end of our radio ads:

“….paid for by the stockholders of Wisconsin Energy Corporation.”

But exactly what does that mean? Who pays for it? Why do we advertise?

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) limits what type of advertising expenses we can recover in customer rates. Typically, the PSCW allows us to recover advertising costs related to safety, conservation, renewable energy and required legal notices. The costs of other types of advertising may not be recovered in rates and is paid for out of company profits – “by the stockholders.”

In 2012, about 60 percent of our advertising expenses were funded by Wisconsin Energy Corporation stockholders, with most of our advertising focused on customer service and safety.

“The content of our advertising is based on feedback from residential and commercial customers, as well as legal requirements,” said Rick White, vice president – corporate communications. “While we do relatively little advertising, we’ve found that paid advertising is a very cost-effective way to share information about a variety of topics.”

Additional facts about our advertising:

Why we advertise
Although your location determines which utility provides your energy, you may not be aware of the services we offer. We also want to keep you safe around our equipment. On a cost-per-thousand basis, radio advertising is one of the more cost-effective ways to inform you and the rest of our customers about energy costs, money-saving tips, energy assistance, budget and paper-free billing options, and energy efficiency programs.

How much advertising costs
Most of our advertising and sponsorship expenses are not part of your rates. Costs that were recovered in rates were less than a penny per customer per month in 2012. That’s about 12 cents per customer per year. The remaining advertising costs were paid for by Wisconsin Energy stockholders.

How sponsorship ads work 
We sponsor events and activities to strengthen the communities we serve. Sometimes, advertising opportunities come with those sponsorships at no additional cost, and we use those opportunities to provide information about our programs and services. The point of sponsorships is not the advertising, though. We provide sponsorships to be a good corporate citizen in the places we call home. Many sponsorships are through the Wisconsin Energy Foundation, which is funded by stockholders, not customers.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Baby Beaux



Isn't he so handsome?  We were so excited to meet our sweet nephew Beaux this last weekend, and I was so honored to take a few photos of him in the hospital.  I wanted to share a few of these special memories with you...


So tiny.  So new. So sweet.


A mother's love.  So amazing.



A sweet and beautiful new family.


Sweet baby feet and fuzz.  It all goes by so quickly, you forget how little they were...


I enjoyed standing back and watching every moment....so much love and happiness.  


We are so proud of you Derek & Molly!  Congratulations!!!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twins at Three



THREE years old.  I still can't believe it!  I never got a chance to take their three year old photos, and these kind of came about as an accident.  I was trying to take a sister pic with Brooke in the middle, but she wasn't in the picture taking mood.  I did get a few of the twins that I absolutely LOVE and wanted to share them with y'all!


Silly.  Only Lauren would pick her nose.  This photo session lasted about five minutes - and all I did was click away while they did their own thing. I love how silly, playful, sweet and fun these two are with each other.



Sweet memories - each their own little person, yet so much alike.  What a gift they have in each other as constant companions and friends!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Be ready to beat heat

Stay cool and stay safe when temperatures soar for extended periods of time:
  • Drink fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate. 
  • Wear lightweight and breathable clothing. 
  • Check on friends and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially if they are older. 
  • No air conditioning? Go to basement, schools, libraries or shopping malls to escape the heat. 
  • Avoid working outdoors if possible and take frequent breaks if you must be outside. 
  • Wear sunscreen if going outdoors. 
  • Take a cool shower or bath after working outside or if you feel overheated. 
  • Eat small meals more often to ensure you are getting proper nutrition. 
  • Call 911 if you or someone shows signs of heat stroke and move to a cool place. 
  • Read the Red Cross heat wave preparedness checklist.

Be prepared in case you lose power during hot weather:
  • Have a charged cell phone with you or stay near a hard-wired phone (not cordless). 
  • Have emergency contacts handy, including our power outage number  –  800-662-4797. 
  • Have someone check on you, especially if you are older or have a medical condition. 
  • Consider backup power supply or have a cool place to go when needed. 
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. 
  • Follow Food and Drug Administration guidelines for food safety.

Use these energy-saving tips during hot weather:
  • Increase your thermostat setting. When at home, set it a few degrees higher. When leaving, move the setting even higher -- about 80 degrees. However, if you are older or sensitive to heat, set the thermostat to a comfortable level to avoid heat-related illness. 
  • Turn off any lights not needed. 
  • Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest times of day. 
  • Use a microwave instead of oven – or avoid cooking altogether. 
  • Use fans – even if you have air conditioning – to help circulate the air. 
  • Cool only rooms in use. Close unused rooms. 
  • Close blinds, shades and drapes on sunny side to keep house cooler.
  • Get more energy-saving tips.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"half-baked"


Well we made it to the HALFWAY mark!  Every time I feel our sweet baby kick, I smile.  Which is a great thing....the last couple weeks have been a little rocky around here for me physically.  I have also really struggled with worry, fear and discouragement.   God is good ALL the time, and I can definitely say that I have been worse.  I'm really trying to enjoy this last pregnancy, soak in all the happy times, and trust in God to take care of my family.  God has reminded me over and over again how blessed we are.  How He always takes care of His children, and that HIS plans are best.  Those little kicks are a constant reminder to me of how amazing He is. 

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." 
Isaiah 26:3

I have my "big" ultrasound in two weeks....I can't wait to see our little guy in detail!  Of course I will update with pictures!!!


We are excited about preparing for our sweet little boy. Here is a little collage of a few of my favorite things....

My Girls // Summer is hard.  It's hot, we are bored, and I can only do so much physically.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I can't be "super mom" (or even normal mom) to them, but they know that I love them and that's what matters!  I have watched them adapt, and learn to play together.  Brooke is the Mommy, Lauren is the Daddy and Lily is the Baby.  And it's a HOOT.  Whenever the twins see me in pain or sick, they come and put their hand on my belly and tell me they love me.  It just doesn't get any better than that.  

Ralph Lauren // I love when my girls wear their clothes, but I have always gazed longingly into the baby boy section at the store.  It's just my favorite...there was a GREAT sale at the outlet in Texas and I just couldn't resist this cute polo.

Target // I have some pretty sweet friends that are throwing me a little baby shower.  I feel so honored and blessed.  I know this is my FOURTH baby after all.  :)  I registered for a few things at target, and received a great goodie bag with free products and coupons!!!

Boots //  Who knew the North Face made infant booties???  I just couldn't resist...

Diapers // I decided to order some diapers from The Honest Company.  They are plant based, non toxic disposable diapers AND they come in the cutest patterns! I used a 40% off coupon on my first "bundle" and then cancelled my subscription after I received my first shipment.  I'm excited to try them out!

Baby Steals // I'm not sure if any of you sign up to receive alerts from Baby Steals or not, but I LOVE their deals!  They have deals on great products like Aden + Anais, Petunia Pickle Bottom and Ergo!

***name update - we are still debating - this baby will have a name, even if it's after he arrives!***

Friday, July 5, 2013

Flashback Friday: Handwritten bills

Had you been a customer of one of our predecessor companies, The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co., back around 1900, you would have received a bill in the mail that featured handwritten data and separate pricing for incandescent lamps, motors and arc lamps (used mostly for street lights).

Incandescent lighting at that time was priced at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour -- only about 2 cents less than it is today, more than a century later. Back then, customers also could receive discounts for higher usage and prompt payment.

Today, many of our customers receive no bill in the mail at all. Instead, they receive and pay their bills online. Not yet paying your bill online? Find information about online bill payment on our website.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bricks being placed at memorial

Our brick at the replica Wisconsin pillar of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., is now in place on the former coal dock near our Port Washington Generating Station. The Port Washington pillar will be accessible to the public in September. Meanwhile, workers continue to add bricks to the site.

Bricks are still available for purchase for a short time by calling 262-238-7741. You also can visit the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight website where you will find a link to the brick sales. Prices start at $50. Act quickly to order a brick with your family's name or the name of a veteran you want to honor.

Last November, veterans from Stars and Stripes Honor Flight attended the dedication of the Pillar of Honor at the new Coal Dock Park as a tribute to all Wisconsin veterans who fought in that great war. We sponsored the dedication.

Wisconsin Energy has been a longtime partner of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, helping sponsor flights to Washington, D.C., to take WWII veterans to see their memorial and other historic sights. Wisconsin Energy also sponsored the Field of Honor event held last August at Miller Park.

Employees ensure safety at accident scene

While on their way to work, two of our employees – John Feider, senior operations supervisor, and Erich Wuestenhagen, senior projects supervisor – worked together to secure the scene of a dangerous accident and assure the safety of people caught up in the event.

At approximately 7 a.m., June 28, a truck hauling a poured concrete bridge span more than 100 feet long cut a corner too close turning south onto Hwy. 100 in Greenfield, Wis., off of the exit ramp from eastbound I-94, snapping a power pole and causing energized wires to sag perilously close to the rush hour traffic on the busy thoroughfare below.

Erich Wuestenhagen (left) and John Feider.
Feider witnessed the accident and jumped immediately into action to keep people away from the live power lines. He safely parked his car, called 911, donned his vest and hard hat, and started directing traffic. “I stopped as many people as I could,” said Feider, an 11-year employee with the company.

When a semi-truck contacted the energized wires, Feider ordered the driver to stay in the truck until the lines could be de-energized. He also stopped a county bus that was attempting to drive underneath the wires.

About this time, Wuestenhagen exited onto Hwy. 100 from the east, saw Feider trying to manage the situation, safely parked his car, ran up to Feider and asked what he could do to help. “The first thing I asked was ‘are we safe?’,” said Wuestenhagen. Together, they identified the hazards to themselves and to the public and formulated a plan to make the situation as safe as possible.

“Our biggest concerns were our own safety and how do we keep everyone else safe,” said Wuestenhagen, who’s been with the company approximately seven years. Feider started directing traffic going from south to north and Wuestenhagen took the opposite lane of traffic.

About that time, the energized lines arced three times between the top of the semi and its front left tire. The arcing, smoke and small fire scared the people in the bus. They panicked and started rushing to get off of the bus. Unable to stop them, Feider and Wuestenhagen guided them to a safe place away from the traffic and the downed lines.

Police and sheriff’s deputies arrived to take charge after approximately 10 minutes. Feider explained what had happened, and he and Wuestenhagen departed the scene.

Brian Dobberke, director of customer field operations: “John and Erich did themselves and the company proud today. Their prompt and decisive actions likely prevented some people from being injured or killed. It was an absolutely outstanding response to a dangerous situation.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Climate change plan impact hard to determine

President Obama’s climate change plan announced June 25 directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholders to establish greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for both new and existing power plants. Implementation of the announced new rule for existing power plants is not expected to occur for several years.

The electric power industry has been a leader in reducing emissions over the last two decades, including GHG emissions in recent years.

Electric power sector emission reductions are due largely to fuel switching from coal to natural gas; slower economic growth; record levels of renewable energy generation (e.g., hydro, wind and solar photovoltaic); and increased energy efficiency by consumers.

Our company has demonstrated a dramatic change in environmental performance. From 2000 to 2013, our power plant capacity is up 50 percent, while emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury and particulate matter are down by 80 percent.

We will not be able to estimate the impact of a new rule regarding existing plants until the details of the President’s proposal are fully developed.

We maintain our plants to retain efficiency:
  • For example, the new coal-fueled units at Oak Creek Power Plant are among the most efficient in the U.S. 
  • Even our older units at Oak Creek are in the top 10 percent in efficiency among coal plants in the Midwest. As a result, they are emitting less carbon dioxide per unit of energy because of their efficiency. These units should be among the least impacted by a carbon dioxide rule, which should be good news for our customers.

Any rule regarding existing plants should be based on commercially available, cost-effective technologies. The new rule needs to take into account the potential impact it would have on customer rates. As a leader on reducing emissions, we also believe any new rule should give credit for early actions, such as repowering of Port Washington Generating Station from coal to natural gas, our plan to convert Valley Power Plant from coal to natural gas and our significant investment in renewables – two of the state’s largest wind farms and a biomass plant.

We Energies President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gale Klappa discussed the issue when he appeared on UpFront with Mike Gousha.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Learning through Motherhood....

Here's a little glimpse of our "crazy" week....

While the twins were supposed to be napping, Lauren decides to climb up to Lily's bunk and BITE her in the back - clearly a round circle that was already starting to bruise.  We have a biting problem.

While Landon was at music practice last night, I sat on the couch from 6:30 - 7:30 disciplining kids for fighting, whining, biting and screaming.  I decided that before I lost my sanity I should probably put them to bed early.  Distraught after a long day I sat in my bed eating M&M's while sobbing.  Thankfully Landon wasn't home for that one...he sees enough drama and tears.

I set my alarm clock this morning for 5:30 and didn't even hear it until 5:42.  Rascal Flatts sang to me for 12 minutes straight.  Thankfully I wore my "workout outfit" to bed so I could go straight to Walmart with crazy hair and no makeup.  I'm such a planner.  Yes, I'm that desperate to go to the store before Landon goes to work so I can avoid taking the kids. 

I got home just in time to watch Landon leave our room for work.  Half dressed.  And then I remembered our load of clean laundry that has been sitting in the dryer for two days.  And I smile (and cry a little bit) because I realize that I have an amazing husband that doesn't even care.  He just digs out something (now wrinkled) from the dryer and heads to work.  And then texts me later this morning and tells me I'm awesome (?!?!?). 

When I think of adding a fourth lately, I get a little overwhelmed.  Then I laugh at this line from Jim Gaffigan:

"Want to know what it's like to have a fourth?  Just imagine you are drowning, and them someone hands you a baby...."

So funny, but seriously how I feel these days.  If you need a laugh, you should click on his name...it will take you to a video clip.  

This morning, I picked up "Out of the Spin Cycle" by Jen Hatmaker and started reading one of my favorite chapters (Chapter 7, in case you have the book)

"Motherhood is like a pitcher with a whole in the bottom: a constant drain on our energy, patience, and tolerance. If nothing good is stored up, where are we possibly going to draw patience?  Grace?  Longsuffering?  young motherhood is too demanding to attempt without a deep connection to Christ."

{photo via pinterest}
As I was praying this morning, I remembered the sweet couple that lost their baby girl yesterday.  The family whose baby boy is struggling in the hospital and needs a heart transplant.  Sweet Rosalie who is still sleeping.  It really puts things into perspective for me.  Regardless of how badly my days go, I still have three sweet babies to tuck into bed, to bathe, to laugh with, and to discipline. I can wake up to three, beautiful, sweet (sometimes naughty) girls.  They need Jesus, but most of all they need to see a mommy who strives to be like Jesus.  I need to put good in, and good will flow out.  I become thankful....thankful for the great opportunity God has given me to be a mother.  Thankful for these hard times, where He teaches me that He is enough.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
II Corinthians 12:9


Monday, June 24, 2013

It's a BOY!!!!


We found out Friday afternoon that baby #4 is a BOY!  I'm still in a little bit of unbelief.  I mean, we had plans for a girl.  Her name would be Charlotte (we would call her Charlie), her hair would probably be red, and her room would be decorated in gold & coral.  :)  Everyone who knows me, knows I have always wanted boys.  God gave us three girls, and that is now my comfort zone.  I was sure #4 was a girl, but I am so elated that it's a boy!  I know that a mother/son relationship is so special and I can't wait to experience it!


Here's my sweet baby boy sucking his thumb.  He did this throughout the entire ultrasound.  When they turned on the 4D, he looked like a miniature Landon.  The twins were playing on the floor oblivious, but Brooke watched the entire time in awe of this little baby moving around the screen.  I can't wait to see their faces when they meet their baby brother.  


A few ways this pregnancy has been completely different:
*The cravings in the first trimester.  I didn't eat much, but when I did all I wanted to eat was meat, chips and biscuits and gravy.  I had to stop myself from driving to McDonalds everyday to get sausage and gravy biscuits.  I'm not a huge meat eater, so I'm thankful those cravings have ended!  
*I am not nearly as sick as with the other two pregnancies.  I'm so thankful as I have 3 girls to take care of!  I found out that the extreme pain I was having is my gull bladder.  If I am very careful what I eat, I can avoid the problems there.
*I felt the baby at 14 weeks.  That is SO early for me!  I love having the constant company though - it's always so reassuring to me to feel those little kicks and bumps!


Such a sweet little face!  I'm so thankful for this blessing that God has given us.  Every little milestone is still so exciting to me - I can actually enjoy them even more this time since I'm not in/out of the hospital and on bed rest!  Our family is complete with two very handsome bookends! I know he will be just like his daddy!

I also want to thank everyone for all your emails, congrats, posts on facebook and especially your PRAYERS. They are very much appreciated!!!