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MI Electric Cooperatives Celebrate the Second Class of Apprentices to Graduate

The Joint Michigan Apprentice Program (JMAP) celebrated its second class of apprentices becoming journeymen electrical lineworkers at the Wolverine Power Cooperative Training Center on Friday, May 3.  

The class celebrated the graduation of 23 apprentice lineworkers from 12 Michigan utilities that collectively span Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Among those who completed the program was Scott LeCureux from Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G).

“Apprentice lineworkers have dedicated thousands of hours to become a master in their craft to provide reliable power to our members,” said Tom Sobeck, CEO at PIE&G. “They place their lives on the line every day for our community, and we are exceedingly proud of their accomplishment and commitment to service.”

Upon graduation from JMAP, LeCureux will continue working at PIE&G alongside fellow journeymen and apprentice lineworkers who provide the essential service of power line maintenance and first-response in the event of outages and emergencies.

The JMAP is a U.S. Department of Labor-certified program committed to producing safe, high-quality journeymen through exceptional, state-of-the-art apprenticeship training. The program is a partnership between Wolverine Power Cooperative, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876 (IBEW), and Northwest Lineman College—an industry-leading educational institution that provides pre-apprentice, apprentice, and journey-level training for hundreds of companies throughout the United States and internationally.

The JMAP began in the fall of 2017 and welcomed its first class of 61 apprentices from 28 Michigan utilities in the program’s inaugural class in September 2017.

PIE&G Selects Five Area Students for Youth Tour to Washington, D.C.

Recently, five local high school students from Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op’s service area were selected to attend the 2019 Youth Tour. The students are Joslynn Brown-Hillman Schools, Eyan Hincka-Posen Schools, Luke Jakey-Posen Schools, Jade Lounsbery-Hillman Schools and Sara Rodes-Wolverine Schools.

The  event will be held June 15-20 and is sponsored by PIE&G, coordinated by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) and hosted by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).  Students from all Michigan electric cooperatives travel to Washington, D.C. where they will develop leadership skills and learn about cooperatives, including the co-op business model, principles, careers, energy efficiency and other industry information.

Youth Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime, all-expenses-paid leadership travel opportunity for high school sophomores and juniors. The students will be joining 1,800 students from over 45 states to visit representatives and senators in Congress, tour the monuments and museums and participate in various learning activities.  Lifetime friendships are made at Youth Tour as attendees become part of a group of over 50,000 alumni from every walk of life including U.S. Senators and CEOs.

PIE&G Communities First Fund Awards $23,000 in Local Grants

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members continue to give generously to assist area community organizations and individuals through the voluntary round up of their electric and natural gas billings.  Member contributions to the PIE&G Communities First Fund enable awards for grants and scholarships in their local communities within PIE&G’s service area. 

At a recent meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund Board of Directors finalized review of applications and made awards of $23,000 in grants to the recipients below.

CHEBOYGAN COUNTY

Cheboygan Carnegie 501 (C)(3) in Partnership with Holbert LLC ($2,500) to assist with The Building Stabilization Project, to address existing structure concerns such as heat loss, lack of insulation and replacement of single pane windows. The Cheboygan Carnegie reopened two years ago, and since then over 8,000 visitors, 100 musicians, and 36 gallery shows and lectures took place. The building stabilization project is expected to be completed in three months.

MONTMORENCY COUNTY

The Pony Club ($2,500) to help with the costs of construction for a new therapy room inside one of the miniature horse barns to accommodate visits by children, veterans, and elderly. The therapy room is a safe ‘living room” style environment for year-round interaction with the therapeutic miniature horses.

PRESQUE ISLE COUNTY

Presque Isle County Historical Museum ($2,000) to defray admission costs to the Northern Lake Huron Native American Pow Wow (Northern Lake Huron NAPW) and Trapper Rendezvous event. The Northern Lake Huron NAPW and Trapper Rendezvous will take place on Friday and Saturday August 2-3, 2019 in conjunction with Rogers City’s Nautical City Festival. The main elements of the event include the Pow Wow, Trapper & Trader Rendezvous, and Native American Crafts.

PRESQUE ISLE COUNTY (Continued)

Rogers City Area Senior Inc ($1,500) to assist with the purchase of new flooring, refrigeration and entry curb improvements. The Rogers City Senior and Community Center began as a senior based center in 1998 and has expanded to include the community and various groups.

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO AREA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

The PIE&G Communities First Fund Board of Directors is pleased to announce that fourteen scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to the following high school seniors:

ALCONA                      ALPENA                                    ATLANTA

Raegen Eller               Lindsey Hoppe                        Sara Blanton

 

CHEBOYGAN               FOREST HILLS CENTRAL       HILLMAN

Amy Ostman               Katherine Bell                         Brooke Grulke

Devin Socolovitch                                                        Cameryn Koenig

                                                                                        Nicholas Taratuta

 

ONAWAY                    POSEN                                      ROGERS CITY

Cienna Domke           Brooke Ciarkowski                  Daniel Bielas

                                     Jeremy Misiak                         Amanda Wirgau

In addition to these scholarships, the A. Barkley Travis Memorial Scholarship, valued at $500, was awarded to Savannah Pasney from Cheboygan.

 

NATIONAL LINEWORKERS APPRECIATION DAY IS APRIL 8

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has designated April 8th as National Lineworkers Appreciation Day. PIE&G proudly acknowledges its electric lineworkers and all of its employees – past and present - for their services. According to CEO Tom Sobeck, “All of our employees, including electric linemen, work day and night, often in hazardous conditions, to safely restore service. Employees work together and go above and beyond when the power goes out or natural gas service is compromised. I thank and appreciate each and every one of them for their hard work and dedication when our members need them the most.”

 

5:30 pm Update - PIE&G Crews Make Substantial Progress Restoring Outages

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op crews have been making substantial progress on power restorations since last night. All but 1,200 services have been restored so far. PIE&G predicts that approximately 8,000 services lost power at some time since yesterday afternoon when blizzard conditions and sustained gale force winds affected the region. Cheboygan County experienced the largest concentration of outages. Arrangements have been made for a line crew to travel to Bois Blanc Island tomorrow via airplane, weather permitting. 

PIE&G crews will continue working late again tonight and plan an early start in the morning. They are being assisted by several outside mutual aid crews including Wolverine Power, Homeworks Tri-Country Cooperative, the City of Chelsea and Hyde’s Tree Service. 

Deep snow in some areas, downed trees and at least two broken poles will require additional repair time and special off-road equipment.  PIE&G expects to complete all restorations by late Wednesday afternoon. Members who are currently without power should plan accordingly.  Current information can be found at pieg.com on the Outage Map.

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 downed lines until crews can secure the area.

Blizzard Causes Significant Widespread Outages

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op is experiencing widespread power outages caused by gale force winds and snow that swept through the region late yesterday afternoon. Crews worked in blizzard conditions last night and began working again early this morning. Currently, PIE&G estimates that a total of around 4,272 services are currently affected throughout its entire service territory in the northeastern tip of the mitt. The largest area affected is Cheboygan County, including 131 on Bois Blanc Island.

 

PIE&G is being assisted by a number of mutual aid line crews including those from Wolverine Power, Homeworks Tri-Country Cooperative, the City of Chelsea and tree removal contractors. 

 

Strong winds, blowing snow and single digit temperatures will affect the crews’ efforts. Initial damage assessments indicate that snow depths in areas will make it difficult to access some of the downed trees and broken poles, requiring special off-road equipment and longer repair times.  PIE&G expects that it will take several days to complete all restorations. Members without power should plan accordingly.  Current information can be found at pieg.com on the Outage Map.

 

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 downed lines until crews can secure the area.

 

Photo Contest: Enter and Vote by March 20

 

The new photo contest theme is "Spring Flowers".  The photo with the most votes will appear in the May/June issue of Michigan Country Lines, along with some of our other favorites. All photos printed in the magazine will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on their December 2019 bill. Submit your entry for the photo contest on this website under the "Community Tab".

Members Report Suspicious Calls

PIE&G’s Member Service Reps have recently received a few member inquiries regarding suspicious phone calls.  In one scenario, several members reported receiving a phone message stating there’s a “problem with your gas account” and to immediately call “Mary” or “Brenda Jackson” at a non-PIE&G phone number.  Another scenario involved phone solicitations to switch to a new gas company “to save money”.

PIE&G wants you to know that neither of these calls originated with your co-op.  The first scenario is clearly a scam. The second relates to a program called customer choice, which is not available to PIE&G members.

Most member communication is by written postcard, letter, monthly billing, “The Spotlight” newsletter, and Country Lines magazine.  If you enrolled in PIE&G’s SmartHub notifications, we will communicate electronically according to your preferences (text or email) regarding your account.  We also post news and articles on pieg.com and Facebook.

Occasionally, we will make automated recorded calls to update you for planned outages, power restorations, or billing reminders.  If PIE&G must initiate phone contact, we will identify ourselves and you can verify our caller identification [(989) 733-8515 or toll- free 1-800-423-6634].  PIE&G will never call you to ask for personal information such as bank or credit card numbers or your social security number.  We offer secure phone or online payment options that are only initiated by you

Finally, our Energy Optimization team will occasionally contact members on our behalf by letter or postcard, and they may follow up by a phone call.  

If you have any questions about your PIE&G account, please call us to inquire. We’re here to help.

PIE&G Assures Members of Adequate Natural Gas Supply

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op is advising its members that the Co-op has adequate supplies of natural gas for its members who receive this service.  PIE&G, in the normal course of business, establishes firm contracts with DTE, it’s supplier. 

Most residents of the lower peninsula received an emergency text alert last night from Consumer’s Energy asking all of their customers to voluntarily reduce their gas usage until tomorrow due to a fire in southeast Michigan at one of their crucial distribution facilities. Although PIE&G does not have concerns at this time with its natural gas supply, the Co-op does recommend, to the extent possible, voluntary conservation by its members. Turning down the thermostat will also reduce members’ monthly bill.

PIE&G Communities First Fund Awards $16,969 in Local Grants

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members continue to give generously to assist area community organizations and individuals through the voluntary round up of their electric and natural gas billings.  Member contributions to the PIE&G Communities First Fund enable awards for grants and scholarships in their local communities within PIE&G’s service area. 

At a recent meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund Board of Directors finalized review of applications and made awards of $16,969 in grants to the recipients below.

ALPENA COUNTY

District Health Dept. No. 4 ($1,200) to help sponsor Girls on the Run, a structured volunteer based, ten-week, 20 session after-school program that incorporates physical activity as a means to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles for over 200 girls. The program targets girls ages 8 to 14 (third through eighth grades) attending the 15 schools within the four-county service area of DHD No. 4.

Huron Pines Resource Conservation & Development ($2,000) toward the cost of creating the Hubbard Lake Preserve, an 80-acre wooded parcel of land that will be used for public recreational and educational purposes. The project entails signage, fencing, parking and grounds keeping, along with funds for local community programs including presentations, tours and events related to forest management, invasive species education, wildlife viewing and outdoor recreation.  Huron Pines is an environmental conservation organization serving 12 counties across northeast Michigan from Saginaw Bay north to the Mackinac Bridge. 

CHEBOYGAN COUNTY

Inland Lakes Secondary Schools ($2,000) to help purchase a Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) Router to enable students to create woodworking projects while learning skills directly transferrable to employment in the manufacturing setting.

MONTMORENCY COUNTY

Atlanta Church of Christ – The Caring Place ($2,000) to purchase food, clothing and household items for those in need.  From October 2017 to September 2018, The Caring Place, run solely by volunteers, has helped over 433 families from babies to adults over 60 years of age.

Hillman Community Schools ($3,000) to help with the purchase musical instruments for elementary students (4th and 5th grade) learning to develop the beginning band program.

The Baby Basket Pantry ($2,000) for the purchase of food, clothing and supplies for area families, seniors and new mothers in need. 

PRESQUE ISLE COUNTY

Onaway Methodist Church – The Caring Closet ($1,500) to help those in need in the community purchase household items that cannot be purchased by food stamps (laundry detergent, hygiene items, toiletries, etc.).

Posen Consolidated School ($1,700) to assist with the purchase of Chromebook personal tablet computers for elementary students (grade 3 – 6) to facilitate student learning online and improve typing skills, help teachers administer, grade and provide prompt feedback for standardized testing, and to promote paperless classes.

Presque Isle Township ($1,569) to assist with the purchase and installation of a Veterans Memorial at the Presque Isle Township Cemetery. The memorial will consist of a brass plaque mounted on a large rock, landscaping and a lighted telescoping flag pole displaying the American flag.

 

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