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Wind Related Power Outages Restored by Sunday Night

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op line crews worked all day and night Sunday to restore 2027 member’s services that temporarily lost power after sustained strong winds knocked down trees onto overhead power lines. The winds reportedly reached 60 mph at times, causing morning closures of the Mackinaw Bridge and power outages to residents in the eastern UP and across northern Michigan. 

PIE&G estimates that a total of 2028 services were affected throughout its entire service territory in the northeastern tip of the mitt at some point on Sunday. Crews made steady progress and by 10 pm had restored all but one service location in Beaver Lake. 

Please contact PIE&G at 1 (800) 423-6634 to report all power outages or downed power lines.  Everyone should use extreme caution and stay away from down lines until crews can secure the area.

Caller ID Spoofing and Telemarketer Scams

“Caller ID spoofing” occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.  Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most types of spoofing.  This phone scam is a relatively new tactic used by telemarketers to make robo-calls using local phone numbers to mask their real identity to lure the recipient into answering the phone.  New technology has made spoofing easier to do and harder to detect.  PIE&G received a recent report from a member who received a call where the caller ID displayed “PIE&G”.  When the member answered the call, there was a recording announcing a sales pitch to a resort for a vacation offer.  

Related scams include callers claiming to be from your utility (or from the IRS) demanding that you pay your electric bill (or back taxes) immediately by credit card to avoid immediate shut off (or to avoid arrest and jail time).  Scammers often use these types of threats and urgency to pressure you into giving them your bank account or credit card number or loading a pre-paid credit or debit card.  

If you receive a robo-call involving “caller ID spoofing”, hang up.  Don't press 1 “to speak to a live operator” or any other phone key “to take your number off the list”.  Don’t say “yes” to any questions the caller may ask.  News reports were that scammers were recording these affirmative answers to commit identity theft or to fraudulently open credit cards.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers some great tips online about this scam (www.FCC.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id ).

If you have any doubts about a call from Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, get the person's name, hang up and contact our Member Services department in person or by phone at 1-800-423-6634 to report it.  

Energy Saving Tips

Here are some resources to help you find ways to reduce your energy use.

Heating and Cooling:

Water heating and conservation:

  • Reduce the temperature of your hot water heater to 120F or less
  • Install a low flow shower head
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
  • If available, use the energy savings settings on your dishwasher and washing machine
  • Consider air drying your clothes - saves energy, money and keeps your clothes lasting longer.
  • Take shorter showers

Electronics and Home Appliances:

  • Consider replacing that old, second refrigerator in the basement - This calculator determines how much energy your refrigerator is using
  • Plug home electronics into a power strip and turn off when not in use. Or unplug appliances that you rarely use (when was the last time you used that VCR?)
  • Don't keep your refrigerator and freezer too cold. Set temperature between 36-38 degrees F and freezers at 0-5 degrees

Other Energy-saving Tips:

Home Heating Credits

PIE&G accepts ‘Energy Drafts’ issued to members eligible for a Home Heating Credit if it is used to pay a home heating bill and the name on the energy draft matches the name on the account.  If the draft is issued in two names, both parties must sign off to endorse payment.  

Visit www.michigan.gov/heatingassistance and click on Home Heating Credit for more information.

PIE&G Board Meeting Rescheduled to Feb. 21

The February PIE&G board meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 21. The meeting will start at 9:30 a.m.

Communities First Fund Board Awards $12K in Grants

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members continue to generously assist area community organizations and individuals through the voluntary round up of their electric and natural gas billings.  Member contributions to the Communities First Fund provide funds for grants and scholarships in their local communities within the PIE&G service area.  At their December meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund board of directors awarded $12,000 in grants to the recipients below.

Cheboygan County

Straits Area Service Inc. ($2,000) - Straits Area Service, Inc. (SAS) is a non-profit organization serving individuals with disabilities since 1976. SAS was awarded funds for their Community Integration Project, and plans to purchase a 12-14 passenger bus to transport clients so they may participate in local programs related to the arts, culinary, adult enrichment, and for work and volunteering opportunities.

Montmorency County

Montmorency County Commission on Aging ($5,000) – the Montmorency County Commission on Aging (MCCOA) was awarded funds to assist in kitchen upgrades at the Senior Centers in Atlanta and Hillman.  At the Atlanta Senior Center, funds will be used to purchase a natural gas range and oven with 10 burners.  A dishwasher will be purchased at the Hillman Senior Center. These Centers offer congregate dine-in nutrition services four days per week and home delivered meals seven days a week.  A total of 36,882 meals were prepared in 2017.

Presque Isle County

Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum, Inc.  ($1,000) -  Funds were awarded toward the purchase of a suitable trailer to haul the historical, one-of-a-kind “Steam Launch” steam engine. The twenty-four foot long Steam Launch dates back to the early 1900’s and is one of only three known to have been built. The GLL Maritime Museum transports the Steam Launch to local parades, shows, and festivals. The new trailer will ensure that the Steam Launch can be towed safely for display at these events. The trailer will also allow the engine to be launched into the water for demonstrations.

Peace Lutheran Church (1,000) - The Peace Lutheran Church (PLC) received funds for their Peace Hygiene Project, which serves about 42 individuals each month. The Peace Hygiene Project stocks personal hygiene items for those in need in the community. Funds will be used to purchase shampoo, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, toilet paper, laundry soap, and dish soap.

 Rogers City Community Theatre, Inc. ($3,000) - The Roger City Community Theatre (RCCT) is a non-profit, volunteer run organization committed to enriching the lives of northeast Michigan residents and its visitors through entertainment. The RCCT grant will support the production of ‘Shrek - The Musical’.  The Shrek script allows for casting of actors from 14 to 99 years of age, and was chosen to help renew the RCCT’s commitment to reaching people of all ages. 

Three Northeast MI Charities Receive $10K in Grants from PIE&G and CoBank

The Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Board of Directors recently approved $5,000 in grants as part of its annual participation in Co-Bank’s matching grant program, “Sharing Success”.  PIE&G’s board selected three recipients to share in the $10,000 grant.  According to Tom Sobeck, President and CEO of PIE&G, “This partnership has allowed us to bring much needed funds into our local communities to organizations that are best suited to identify members who are desperately in need.” The three organizations receiving funds are:

 Cheboygan County $5,000

Together Lifting Children (TLC) is a ministry of St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cheboygan. The mission of TLC is to insure that every Cheboygan Area Schools student has their basic physical needs met for clothing and personal hygiene to enable them to interact in comfort and with dignity so they can focus on studies and develop more positively with their peers. The budget is $100 per student.

Montmorency County $2,500

The Full Gospel Assembly of God (Atlanta) for the Family Ministry Food Pantry in Lewiston which supplies food for those in need.  Although the pantry has been open for over twenty years, the number of households served doubled in 2017.  Funds will be used to purchase shelf stable canned goods and frozen fruits and meats.

Presque Isle County $2,500

The Rogers City Lions Club (RCLC) partnered with the Lions of Michigan Foundation and other local organizations and individuals to establish a weekend food backpack program for needy children in the Rogers City Elementary School.  Working through the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to ensure consistency and balanced nutrition, the program feeds 24 children every weekend of the school year at a cost of $100 per child.

CoBank, a non-profit, cooperative bank that PIE&G uses and is a member of, matches contributions by its cooperative members to charitable organizations of their choice on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $5,000.  CoBank requires that the charitable organization is established as a non-profit under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service code, the donation serves a public purpose and is consistent with the program’s purpose and guidelines.  For more information about CoBank, visit the bank's web site at www.cobank.com.

Cleaner Energy for Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Members

PIE&G members will have cleaner energy in 2018 as Wolverine Power Cooperative in Cadillac, announced that 56 percent of the power it provides is now carbon free.  Wolverine, PIE&G’s power supplier, entered into a new long-term contract for zero-emission energy that significantly reduces emissions from carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, and also helps ensure that power remains cost-competitive and reliable for years to come.

The new carbon-free energy comes in addition to Wolverine’s current solar, wind, and hydro energy assets, which provide 20% of members’ power. Wolverine and its member co-ops lead Michigan utilities with the highest percentage of new renewable energy, exceeding both present and anticipated state portfolio requirements. Among these renewable assets is more than 150 megawatts of recently added wind and solar energy, including the construction of SpartanSolar—Northern Michigan’s largest solar array.

“Our members choose to live and vacation in northern Michigan in part, because of its beauty and natural resources. They care deeply about cutting their carbon footprint,” said Tom Sobeck, PIE&G President & CEO. “We’re proud to be a leader in our state towards a more sustainable future.”

About Wolverine Power Cooperative:

Wolverine is a generation and transmission cooperative serving the wholesale power supply and transmission needs of seven member-owners: Cherryland Electric Cooperative (Grawn); Great Lakes Energy (Boyne City); HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative (Portland); Midwest Energy Cooperative (Cassopolis); Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (Onaway); Spartan Renewable Energy (Cadillac); and Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative (Cadillac). Learn more by visiting www.wolverinepowercooperative.com.

Now Accepting Youth Tour Applications

Youth Tour teaches students of Michigan about their past—and helps equip them with the skills they need to be Michigan’s next generation of energy-minded leaders. This is a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses-paid leadership travel opportunity for high school sophomores and juniors (going into their junior or senior year this summer) and is sponsored by Michigan’s electric cooperatives. From the battlefields of Gettysburg to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., the program explores the leadership lessons of our nation’s history and will immerse students in the cooperative spirit. 

Youth Tour offers a unique opportunity to build leadership and public speaking skills, enhance students? knowledge of the cooperative form of business, and build life-long friendships with other student-leaders from across the country.

Youth Tour applications accepted between now and Feb. 28. The trip will take place June 10-15, 2018.

Trip Highlights Include:

  • Visit the Gettysburg Civil War battlefields
  • See Fort McHenry, birthplace of “The Star Spangled Banner”
  • Explore the Washington, D.C. monuments and memorials
  • Attend a world-class theater performance
  • Explore the museums of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Pay respects at Arlington National Cemetery
  • Meet with Michigan Senators and Congressmen
  • And much, much more

Visit CooperativeYouthTour.com to learn more and for an online application.

Adventures For Rural Veterans- Apply By Feb. 28

As far as Michigan's electric Cooperatives are concerned, there should be “No Barriers” to veterans with disabilities. That’s the name—and the idea—behind Co-Bank’s No Barriers initiative. Designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experience in challenging environments (think: climbing, rafting and hiking), the program takes place over a five-day expedition in Colorado. As the program sponsor, CoBank will cover the full cost, including travel expenses, for each veteran.

Michigan's cooperatives, along with other eligible CoBank borrowers, are invited to nominate veterans from our local community to participate in the No Barriers program. So we are reaching out to you!

If you are a veteran, or you know of a veteran in our community who would like to participate in the No Barriers program, please complete this form to express interest by Feb. 28.

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