By Tom Sobeck, President & CEO
We’re enjoying warmer temperatures. As we welcome summer back, we’re busy with outdoor projects, tending our gardens, preparing for graduation parties and reunions, and activities at the lake
or on the road. After the long, cold winter, this is always an exciting time of year for Michiganders. Last month, PIE&G delivered Communities First Fund scholarship awards to several high school graduates (17 seniors, in fact). We’re proud of these young men and women as they contemplate the next steps in their lives. For them, it is certainly a time of exhilaration and anxiety over the unknown. Planning for the future can be both exciting and frightening.
The same holds true for us at your cooperative. We’ve undertaken three big projects over the last several years (construction of a new headquarters, Advanced Metering, and a new fiber project) during unexpected, equally daunting world events. The COVID-19 pandemic created worry, hardships, and significant changes for us in our daily lives. Two and a half years later, just when things seemed to be calming down somewhat, significant geopolitical events around the world and at home have occurred, creating new and different challenges—from rising prices in all sectors and economic uncertainty to war. As much as I would like to say that none of these events affected us here in our little corner of the world, we all know that’s just not the case. Inflation hits us just like it does the rest of the world. We face the same challenges of managing costs to operate the cooperative that you face trying to manage costs to operate your businesses and maintain your households. No one is isolated from inflation. My message to you is simple. I can assure you we are keenly aware of the impact that our rising costs have on your lives. The PIE&G board and staff are committed to maintaining as much control over those costs as we can. Still, we must also continue to conduct business. That includes annual repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation of our electric distribution system to ensure the reliability of service and mitigate weather-related outage restoration costs. Likewise, we’ll plan to extend our natural gas infrastructure when and where it makes economic sense to do so, bringing a much-desired fuel source to northeastern Michigan households and reducing their overall heating costs. We will also continue to build our fiber-to-the-home network, doing our best to make our region attractive for businesses and families. Although the future is unknown, we remain focused on our mission: To provide energy and other services to sustain and improve the quality of life for our members. We will work diligently on behalf of our members and the citizens of northeast Michigan to be regarded as a trusted energy and community partner.
As we begin the summertime months in northern Michigan, I encourage you to enjoy all of Michigan’s abundant outdoor activities. Get outside and enjoy our summer weather while it’s here and know that your cooperative is doing everything in its power to keep the lights on and your costs as low as we can.