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Working Toward A Sustainable Future, Starting Now

Electric cooperatives have a unique ability to ‘act ahead.’ Not only are we forward-thinking, but we’re agile enough to make decisions today that will continue to serve our members in the future. We’re investing in the infrastructure, technology and employees needed to provide the right type of power at the right price both today and into the 21st century.

While we are your direct source for electricity, we do have a man behind the curtain helping support us in providing you with affordable, reliable and renewable energy. Wolverine Power Cooperative is our generation and transmission partner – a co-op in its own right that makes key decisions about where your electricity comes from and how your electricity gets to you.

Wolverine makes its decisions about our energy future by balancing five key components.

1) Diverse Supply Mix: By refusing to rely on a single source of power, Wolverine ensures that our members don’t run the risk of seeing skyrocketing prices or outages when one power source isn’t available.

2) Asset Ownership: Wolverine owns and operates seven power plants of their own to ensure that we’re not relying solely on outside forces to bring our members their electricity.

3) Environmental Stewardship: Wolverine proudly maintains compliance with every major and minor regulation put in place to protect our planet, and they’re leading the state in renewable energy generation with their commitment to harnessing the power of wind.

4) Competitive Rates: Since they’re a non-profit entity, they provide wholesale power direct to consumers without middlemen that require payouts.

5) Long-Term Price Stability: Wolverine works hard to plan for the future to ensure that PIE&G's members’ bills remain level as energy prices continue to ebb and flow. Wolverine is making decisions now to benefit our members for decades to come.

PIE&G is able to stay agile because we exist for our members, not for the bottom line. Because our decisions are based on humans instead of dollars, we are able to rally our community around their own ideals. You want more access to renewable energy? We’ll work with Wolverine to build a power supply mix with more renewables than the rest of the state. You want to keep your bill low? Wolverine helps us stay on the cutting edge of technology to ensure that we are only running the necessary generators when you need them. You’ve heard that Michigan is in an energy crisis? Wolverine has been building additional electric capacity for decades to ensure our members will never be in the dark.

In short, we’ve got you covered. To us, that’s what it means to be sustainable.

Our doors, phone lines and comment boards are always open. If you’re concerned about the future of energy in Michigan, please let us know. We’d love to ease your mind directly. Take a look at Wolverine’s website for more information about power sources, supply and our cooperative dedication to you.

Wolverine Power Supply

 

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

You can’t see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, but it can be deadly. Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a gas that is found whenever fuel is burned. Known as the “silent killer,” CO causes an average of 430 deaths per year and more than 20,000 hospital emergency room visits according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Where does carbon monoxide come from?
CO is in fumes produced by items that burn fuel, including kerosene, propane, and gas space heaters, improperly working furnaces, gas water heaters and dryers, wood stoves and fireplaces. Car, truck and boat exhaust fumes contain CO as do fumes from fuel-powered generators and power washers.

How can carbon monoxide poisoning affect your health?
CO is dangerous because it blocks your body from absorbing the oxygen it needs. CO poisoning can occur suddenly or happen over a long period of time. Symptoms depend on the amount of CO a person is exposed to, the length of time exposed, and the general health and age of the person. Mild symptoms may seem like the flu and include: mild headache and weakness, dizziness, sleepiness, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, nausea and/or vomiting. High levels of CO or lower levels of CO exposure that last a long time can cause confusion, loss of muscle control, blurred vision, extreme headache, weakness, fainting, convulsions and even death.

Who is most at risk of harm to their health?
Anyone can be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. However, those most at risk are:

  • infants,
  • the elderly, and
  • people with heart disease, lung disease, or anemia.

What should you do if you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

  • Go outside and get fresh air immediately!
  • Call 911 and tell them you think you have carbon monoxide poisoning, or go to the emergency room if you are able to get there without help.
  • A simple blood test done at the hospital can usually detect carbon monoxide poisoning. Medical treatment is available.

What can you do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

  • DO purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors that meet Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard 2034-95. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper placement, use and maintenance. If the detectors plug into the wall, be sure they have a battery backup.
  • DO leave the house if the alarm sounds on your CO detector. Go to a hospital emergency room or call 911 if anyone is feeling sick. If no one is sick, call the emergency number for your heating service or 911. Stay out of the home until your heating service or fire department says it’s okay to go in.
  • DO have a heating professional inspect, clean, and adjust your fireplace, wood stove, gas appliances including furnaces and water heaters, and chimneys/vents every fall—before the start of home heating season.
  • DO purchase gas appliances that vent their fumes to the outside. Have them installed by a heating professional.
  • DO read and follow all of the instructions for any fuel-burning devices.
  • DO make sure that your car, truck, or boat has a working, airtight exhaust system. Repair exhaust leaks immediately.
  • DO pay attention to symptoms (headache, dizziness, tiredness and/or a sick feeling in your stomach), especially if more than one person is feeling sick or if people and pets are feeling sick.
  • DON’T operate fuel-powered machines such as generators, power washers, or mowers in buildings or semi-enclosed spaces.
  • DON’T cook or heat with a grill indoors, even if you put it inside a fireplace.
  • DON’T run vehicles in the garage, even if the door is open. Carbon monoxide can build up quickly and enter your vehicle and home.
  • DON’T sit in a parked vehicle with the engine running for a long period of time, especially if your car is in snow.
  • DON’T use gas stoves or ovens to heat your home.
  • DON’T use an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater indoors.
  • DON’T close the damper to the fireplace unless the fire is completely out and the coals are cold.
  • DON’T ride in covered pickup truck beds or campers. Air moving around the vehicle can draw exhaust in.
  • DON’T swim or play near the back of a boat where the motor gives off exhaust.
  • DON’T ignore symptoms! You could die within minutes if you do nothing.

PIE&G Communities First Fund Awards $17,400 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 a recent meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund Board of Directors finalized awards of $5,400 in grants to the following recipients:

Montmorency County:

Montmorency County Commission on Aging  ($3,000) for kitchen upgrades at the Senior Centers in Atlanta ($1,000 to purchase an ice machine), Lewiston ($1,000 to purchase an oven and range), and Hillman ($1,000 for a food warmer).

Presque Isle County:

Presque Isle County Sheriff Department ($2,400) to purchase a vest, gas mask, and medical kit required for membership in the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Emergency Response Team (ERT).

At their June meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund Board of Directors awarded $12,000 in grants as follows:

Alpena County:

Long Rapids Township Volunteer Fire Department ($2,000) to purchase a thermal imaging camera designed to assist fire fighters in search and rescue efforts and to locate from a safe distance internal fires sources in structures.  

Montmorency County:

Atlanta Church of Christ - The Caring Place ($2,500) to purchase food for The Caring Place food pantry. The pantry provides food and clothing assistance to approximately 232 households in the county each month.

New Beginnings Ministries ($2,500) to purchase food for the Hillman Area Resource Pantry (HARP).The pantry currently provides food to over 400 people per month.

Otsego County:

Otsego Memorial Hospital Foundation ($1,000) to purchase new age appropriate books for the Reach Out and Read program.

Presque Isle County:

Peace Lutheran Church  ($1,000) to enable The Peace Project to purchase and distribute personal hygiene items to families.

Posen Consolidated Schools ($1,500) to defray the cost of student transportation and admission to the Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI to further learning of American History.

United Way of Northeast Michigan ($1,500) for the purchase of food and personal hygiene products to be distributed at the Presque Isle County Project Connect Event, where two to three hundred people receive donated goods and services.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op provides electric and natural gas service to more than 42,000 member-owners, and serves a nine county area across northeast Michigan. PIE&G headquarters is located in Onaway. 

Perform An Annual Safety Inspection On Your Boat And Dock Before Lifting The Anchor

Water comprises almost one-half of Michigan, so it’s easy to see why the state boasts a thriving recreational industry and leads the nation with nearly 1 million registered pleasure boats.

For boating and water safety, there are items you must legally have on your watercraft—life vests, fire extinguisher, throwable flotation device, and properly working lights—but make sure the boat and the dock are safe, too.

To help prevent accidents, the National Electrical Contractors Association says:

  • All installations should be performed by a professional electrical contractor.
  • All dock receptacles must comply with the National Electrical Code, which mandates a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI measures a circuit’s current and senses any imbalance (such as a discharge into the water), which trips the GFCI and cuts off the power.
  • Test any GFCIs every month. Locate it along the ramp to the dock so it can be easily tested by local fire departments.
  • Metal dock frames should have “bonding jumpers” that connect all metal parts to an on-shore grounding rod. This means any dock part that becomes energized by electrical malfunction will trip the GFCI or circuit breaker.
  • Ask neighbors if their dock electrical systems have been inspected and are up to Code.
  • Household wire is not suitable for boats.
  • Do not use wire nuts (these are for solid conductor wire, which should never be on a boat) or splice connectors (can cut wire strands)!
  • Fuses are rated to protect the wire, not the stereo. If a fuse blows continuously, something else is wrong.
  • If you rent a dock or boat, notify the owner of safety violations immediately.
  • Have your boat’s system (especially with onboard generators) checked at least annually and when something is added or removed.
  • Ropes, string, masts and rigging also conduct electricity—don’t be the common ground between water and electricity

PIE&G and MI Electric Co-ops Donate 10,500 Meals To Local Food Banks

On April 18, 2016, volunteers from Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, together with seven other Michigan electric cooperatives, assembled 10,500 meals for donation to the Kids Against Hunger Coalition.

Child hunger remains a serious problem in Michigan, with one in five kids not getting enough food regularly.  When children lack access to nutritious meals, they don’t have what they need to reach their fullest potential.

PIE&G employees helped assemble fortified soy-rice casserole-style meals specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of children. These packaged meals were then distributed by each co-op to local food banks in their respective service territories throughout Michigan.  Recipients in PIE&G’s service area include Atlanta Church of Christ - The Caring Place, Hillman United Methodist and Calvary Episcopal Food Pantry, Presque Isle Food / Baby Pantry and The Salvation Army – Cheboygan County Emergency Food Pantry.

“Participating in this service project with my cooperative colleagues and partnering with Kids Against Hunger was a rewarding experience,” says Brian Burns, CEO at PIE&G. “As an electric co-op, ‘Commitment to Community’ is one of our guiding principles. This project was yet another opportunity to put that principle into action.”

The 2016 food packing project was a new activity added to an annual conference attended by Michigan’s electric cooperatives.

Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Ceiling Fans

Celing fan

People typically think of fans only for summertime comfort and lower air-conditioning costs. Ceiling fans are unique in that they can also reduce your wintertime heating bills with proper use. Here are six tips for getting the most out of your fans:

1. Set your thermostat a few degrees higher and run your ceiling fans during the summer to decrease electric bills. Leaving your thermostat at the same temperature, or leaving your fans on while no one is in the room will not increase your savings.

2. In winter, reverse the rotation of the fan blades and run it at a low speed. This moves the hotter air collecting near the ceiling throughout the room without creating a cold breeze, and allows you to save some of your hard-earned money.

3. If you feel the need to get a fan after reading about how cost effective they are, select a fan that is Energy Star certified. The newest and most efficient motors are DC (direct current) motors, which can offer up to six speeds and use only 33 watts of electricity.

4. When hanging your fan, be sure it is about eight feet above the floor to prevent injuries or damage to your fan. A downrod should be included in with your fan to provide the proper height.

5. When selecting a lighting kit for your fan, consider getting one with LED lighting. They are efficient, last for many years, and most are dimmable.

6. Lastly, getting a remote control for your fan can help you save energy by making it easy to turn off, or adjust your ceiling fan settings. Some newer fans can even be controlled by a smart phone fan application.

 

Hug A Lineman

Lineman getting in bucket

The lights flicker once, twice. You wait for it. Boom!  A crack of lightning illuminates the night sky as thunder simultaneously rolls over your neighborhood, taking the power with it. Most of us start scrambling for flashlights, candles and the battery operated radio. But across town, a lineman grabs his gear in preparation for what could be a long night of restoring electricity.

I recently visited with a line crew from Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Dustin Ockert, a journeyman lineman, talked about those days and nights when the power goes out. “Leaving my family at home with no power can be stressful. They’re home in the dark without me and I’m out working to get the lights back on.” However, it’s work that Dustin finds enjoyable, despite its risks.

Every day, Dustin and his crew face a number of occupational hazards, including high-voltage contact, confined spaces, and challenging weather conditions, often while working at great heights. Deceptively simple-looking, power lines are connected by a complex arrangement of small parts that crews learn to manipulate while wearing heavy protective gloves. Handling up to 7,200 volts of electricity at any given moment, losing concentration for even a second could result in serious injury. When asked what wind speed would prevent him from taking the bucket up, Dustin confidently replied, “That hasn’t happened yet!”

Fortunately for Dustin and his crew, most days are quiet and filled with routine maintenance work and installations. Safety remains the crew’s first priority, even on normal days. But all concerns for family and safety aside, Dustin loves his job. During an outage, “The world is dark when we get where we’re going and by the time we leave, the lights are back on. That’s the glory of our job.”

If you’re like me you take your power for granted, forgetting the men and women who work in the dark, rain, wind and snow, ensuring that we can turn the lights on each morning. So take a minute, thank your local linemen, and do as Dustin suggests the next time you see his crew pulling up, “Stand back and watch what happens!”

- Excerpt from May Country Lines magazine, written by Jack O'Mally

This Cleaning Tip Can Save You $288

If you’re  like us, you would rather do anything besides clean your home in the spring.

But what if you could earn $288?

That’s right, you can “earn” money by cleaning your home this spring. It’s estimated that cleaning your dryer vent once a year can lead to annual energy bill savings of up to $288. And after all, a penny saved is a penny earned!

Money is always a great motivator. Aside from the cost-saving advantages, cleaning your dryer vent protects your home from disaster. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 15,000 house fires are caused by overheated dryers every year. The household dryer is actually one of the riskiest appliances to keep in your home. Whether your dryer is living up to its name or not, cleaning your dryer vent saves energy, time, and money.

Does My Dryer Vent Need Cleaned?

If it takes longer than 50 minutes for your dryer to do its job (and the load isn’t completely made up of blue jeans), you may be at risk for a dryer fire. The NFPA says 32 percent of all home clothes dryer and washer fires are caused by a failure to clean regularly. Additionally, dryer fires cost property owners over $238 million in property damages last year, so a clean dryer vent can save you money on more than just your energy bill.

How to Clean Your Dryer Vent

There are dryer vent cleaning options for every ability, dryer, schedule and budget:

  1. Self-contained lint brushes can be purchased for as little as $5 from Home Depot and are best used for regular maintenance and up-keep.
  2. Lint removing kits often include vacuum attachments, telescoping and bendable brush arms, and a specially designed brush head. Depending on the time between cleanings, a lint removing kit might be in your best interest.
  3. If you’re not planning to add ‘dryer vent cleaning’ to your annual spring cleaning checklist, you can have a professional do it for you. The most expensive of these three options, professional dryer vent cleaning may be the best bet for hard-to-reach, impossibly long or otherwise awkward dryer vent systems.

The clothes dryer takes about 6 percent of an average home’s total electricity usage, making it one of the most expensive appliances to use in your home. A clogged air vent restricts air flow, which necessitates more energy to do the same job. Removing that lint will ultimately help prolong the life of your dryer by allowing it to breathe properly and keeping it from working too hard. Yes, just like humans and plants, your dryer needs room to breathe!

When preparing to clean your dryer vent for the first time, take a look at how long your vent duct is and find the vent exit point on the outside of your home. You may be alarmed at how much (or how little) lint dust is removed for the first time. Regular maintenance, minimally once per year, will make a huge difference both in your pocketbook and your back pocket.

 

 

PIE&G Directors to Return $1.225 Million to Members

Capital Credits from the mid-1980's to be retired

At their regular meeting in April, PIE&G's board of directors took action to retire capital credits in the amount of approximately $1.225 million.  Members who received electric service in 1984 and 1986-1988 will receive an amount of the above in proportion to their energy use.  Checks will be mailed in the fall of 2016.

PIE&G is a member-owned, not-for-profit organization.  When revenues exceed expenses, the co-op generates "capital" that is "credited" to individual members on a pro rata basis depending on their "patronage" or purchase of electricity or gas.

These capital credits are used to build the facilities needed to serve the co-op's members.  Capital credits are retired and refunded whenever the board of directors determines that the co-op's financial condition will not be impaired.  Since its inception, the co-op has retired and refunded approximately $10.8 million in capital credits back to members.

PIE&G Communities First Fund Board Awards $15,500 in Scholarships to Area High School Grads

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members continue to 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 resources for grants and scholarships for use in their local communities within the PIE&G service area.
 
At their recent meeting, the PIE&G Communities First Fund board of directors awarded fifteen (15) scholarships of $1,000 each to the following 2016 high school graduates: 

ATLANTA INLAND LAKES
Haley Bickhardt Mallory Bunker
   
CHEBOYGAN POSEN
Danielle Boyd Lauren Romel
  Lyndsey Romel
HILLMAN  
Alaina Ableidinger ONAWAY
  Thomas Anglin
MACKINAW Eleana Domke
Chelsey Closs Isaac Nave
Kendra LaHaie  
  ROGERS CITY
ALPENA Brittany Bade
Delaney Whitlow Brianna Kamyszek
  Baylee Lijewski

 

 

The A. Barkley Travis Memorial Scholarship, valued at $500, was awarded to Jolene Reese from Posen.

 

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