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7 pm Update to Power Restorations

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) crews have now restored power to 6,532 services affected by powerful winds that swept through northern Michigan last night. Of the 385 services still without power tonight, 242 are primarily seasonal homes located on Bois Blanc Island. The winds caused outages throughout PIE&G’s service area. All available crews, outside contractors and office personnel worked all night Monday and are continuing restoration efforts again tonight.  

Current outage information by county is available by viewing PIE&G’s outage map online at pieg.com.

4 pm Outage Restoration Update

December 27, 2016 – Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) crews have now restored power to 6,303 services affected by powerful winds that swept through northern Michigan last night. There are approximately 604 services that remain without power at this time, with 242 of these outages located on Bois Blanc Island in Cheboygan County. The power outages occurred throughout PIE&G’s service area. All available crews, outside contractors and office personnel worked all night and will continue their restoration efforts again tonight. Current outage information by county is available by viewing PIE&G’s outage map online at pieg.com.

PIE&G members should contact PIE&G immediately at (800) 423-6634 to report their power outage or any downed power lines.  Residents are cautioned to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately to PIE&G or a local law enforcement agency. 

12 pm Update to Power Restorations

December 27, 2016 – Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) crews were dispatched last evening in response to wind related power outages and downed trees on lines. Crews worked all night and have already restored power to 5,908 services affected. Predictions show approximately 1,000 members are still without power at this time. The outages are located throughout PIE&G’s service area. All available crews, outside contractors and office personnel are continuing restoration efforts today. Current outage information by county is available by viewing PIE&G’s outage map online at pieg.com.

PIE&G members should contact PIE&G immediately at (800) 423-6634 to report their power outage or any downed power lines.  Residents are cautioned to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately to PIE&G or a local law enforcement agency. 

HIGH WINDS CAUSE POWER OUTAGES ACROSS NORTHERN MICHIGAN

December 27, 2016 – Sustained high winds and downed trees and branches falling onto overhead power lines caused outages for thousands of residents across northern Michigan. Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) began receiving reports of wind-related outages around 7 p.m. last night. Crews were dispatched and worked all night to restore around 5,400 services by this morning.  Currently there are approximately 1400 members without power throughout PIE&G’s service area. All available crews, contractors and office personnel will continue their efforts today.  

PIE&G members should contact PIE&G immediately at (800) 423-6634 to report their power outage or any downed power lines.  Residents are cautioned to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires and to report them immediately to PIE&G or a local law enforcement agency.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op provides electric and natural gas service to approximately 42,500 member-owners in a nine county area of northeast Michigan and its headquarters is in Onaway, Michigan.

PIE&G Partner CoBank Launches"No Barriers" Program for Veterans With Disabilities

December 12, 2016 (Onaway) – CoBank, a cooperative bank serving rural infrastructure providers throughout the United States, including electric cooperatives like Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, recently announced a new program for veterans with disabilities.  In partnership with its customers and the nonprofit group “No Barriers USA”, CoBank will sponsor up to 50 veterans from rural areas across the U.S. to participate in outdoor expeditions that challenge them mentally and physically and help them to transform their lives. PIE&G and other eligible CoBank borrowers will be able to nominate veterans from their local communities to participate in the No Barriers Warriors program, with CoBank covering the full cost for each veteran, including travel expenses. Selected veterans will go through the program in 2017.

“Every American owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in the armed forces and protect our country,” said Brian Burns, PIE&G’s chief executive officer.  “Those who are wounded or injured in the course of duty are even more deserving of our thanks.  At PIE&G, we want to do our part to honor veterans and repay them for their service to the nation.”  Burns noted that over 5 million of the nation’s 22 million veterans are located in rural areas. PIE&G is looking to its members to nominate deserving individuals from their communities who would benefit from the No Barriers experience.

No Barriers was co-founded by Erik Weihenmayer, an internationally renowned mountain climber and the only blind person in history to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.  Weihenmayer has been a regular speaker at CoBank meetings over the past several years and has shared his inspirational message about overcoming barriers and challenges to live a life rich in meaning and purpose with the bank’s customers and employees.

“Through the Warriors program, No Barriers has been working with veterans with disabilities for years,” said Weihenmayer. “We’ve seen the transformation that takes place when veterans are able to overcome the mental and physical challenges involved in one of our expeditions, and then apply the skills they’ve learned to the challenges faced in the day-to-day lives. We’re grateful to CoBank for their partnership and opportunity to serve even more of our nation’s veterans with disabilities.”

Mr. Burns added “We look forward to partnering with CoBank to make this effort a success.”  Nominations of rural veterans with disabilities to participate in the 2017 program are being accepted immediately.  Candidates must have a VA disability rating.  Detailed information about the nomination process and requirements is available on Facebook (Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op), or by calling PIE&G Member Services at 1-800-423-6634.

 

Heavy Snow Causes Significant Power Outages for PIE&G

Press Release - 6:30 p.m. Update

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op has restored electricity to approximately 4075 services after heavy wet snow fell in the area Sunday evening. Line crews worked through Sunday night and are continuing their efforts this evening.

Approximately 325 services are still out of power as PIE&G crews continue working with additional assistance from outside contractors and Wolverine Power.

The outages affected a large number of individual services requiring the line crews to address each one separately in order to complete repairs. PIE&G will be working into the night again to safely complete restorations to as many services as possible. However, due to the large number of individual outages, members who are still without power this evening should make alternate arrangements for tonight as some services may not be restored until tomorrow. PIE&G apologizes for any inconvenience and extends thanks to members for their patience.

Presque  Isle  Electric  &  Gas  Co-op  members  who  lose  power  should contact  us  immediately at  (800)  423-6634  to  report  outages  or downed power lines.

PIE&G reminds everyone to stay away from downed power lines.

Snow Load Power Outages

Press Release - 4:30 p.m. Update

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op began receiving reports of widespread outages due to heavy wet snow load around 9 pm Sunday, December 4. Line crews were called in and worked throughout the night. Approximately 3788 services have been restored thus far.

Currently, there are approximately 556 services that are still without power.  All available PIE&G crews are working to safely restore electricity with additional outside assistance from Wolverine Power.

The snow load affected a large number of individual services across PIE&G’s nine county service area. It is anticipated that additional time will be necessary for line crews to complete repairs. PIE&G will be working into the night again to complete restoration to as many services as possible.  However, due to the large number of individual outages, members who are still without power should make alternate arrangements for tonight as some services may not be restored until tomorrow.

Presque  Isle  Electric  &  Gas  Co-op  members  who  lose  power  should contact  us  immediately at  (800)  423-6634  to  report  outages  or downed power lines.

PIE&G reminds everyone to stay away from downed power lines.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op provides electric and natural gas service to approximately 42,000 member-owners in a nine county area of Northeast Michigan.   PIE&G headquarters is in Onaway, Michigan.

Helping Local Communities

ALL ENROLLED IN THE COMMUNITIES FIRST FUND ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PRIZE DRAWING HELD FEBRUARY 6, 2017

PIE&G members who volunteer to round up their monthly utility bills to the next whole dollar generously fund the PIE&G Communities First Fund, which was created in 1998 to help boost important nonprofit groups in Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op’s service area. If you are among the 33 percent of PIE&G members who participate – helping generate about $51,400 per year – thank you!  The average contribution is 50 cents per month, or around $6 annually per meter, but these donations add up to make a BIG difference in northeast Michigan. More than $1.39 million has been awarded to date to benefit our communities.

PIE&G needs your help to expand this program in the coming year. If 50 percent of members participated, they would generate $78,000 for local food pantries and schools, the Presque Isle County Servicemen’s Club, Boy Scouts, the Cheboygan County Equine Unit, Girls on the Run Sunrise Side and many more. You can help by enrolling in the program. Simply complete the enrollment form here, drop it off at our office or mail it with your utility payment to PIE&G, P.O. Box 308, Onaway, MI 49765. Or just call us at 1-800-423-6634.

Members enrolled in the PIE&G Communities First Fund before Feb. 6, 2017 (including those already participating), will be automatically entered to win one of three prizes. First prize is a notebook computer valued at $250, second prize is a tablet computer valued at $100, and third prize is a $50 PIE&G bill credit.

You can be confident that all member donations go directly to help communities; the small administrative costs involved are paid by PIE&G. Contributions are tax deductible and your total annual contribution will be listed on your January energy bill for tax purposes. An all-volunteer, independent board of directors reviews the applications and determines the awards.

Thank you for enrolling – and good luck!

Safety During Hunting Season

Be aware of what’s behind that big buck or it might cost big bucks.

Your electric co-op’s time and money are spent every year repairing equipment and power lines that have been struck by a stray bullet. As a not-for-profit cooperative, owned by the members, we all share in this expense.

This doesn’t even include the inconvenience, damages, and hazards to members down the line that require power for medical equipment or other needs, while a lineman does some hunting of his own looking at spans of line trying to locate the problem.

Hunters and other gun-owners should be cautious not to shoot near or toward power lines, power poles, and substations. A stray bullet can cause damage to equipment, could be deadly to the shooter, and potentially interrupt electric service to large areas.

Sometimes the damage isn’t noticed for several weeks or months and is only discovered when an
unexplained outage occurs.

Landowners are also encouraged to take note of nonmembers who are hunting on their property and remind them to be aware of power lines.

Shooting near overhead power lines or insulators can result in severe injury or death.

The main safety points to remember are:
• Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.
• Familiarize yourself with the location of power lines and equipment on land where you shoot.
• Damage to the conductor can happen, possibly dropping a phase on the ground. If it’s dry and the electricity goes to ground, there is the possibility of electrocution and wildfire.
• Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.
• Do not use power line wood poles or towers to support equipment used in your shooting activity.
• Take notice of warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.
• Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment on the poles can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.
• Do not shoot at, or near, birds perching on utility lines. That goes for any firearm, including pistols, rifles or shotguns.
• Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Anything attached to a pole besides utility equipment can pose an obstruction—and a serious hazard—to electric cooperative employees as they perform utility operations.
• Avoid the use of lofting poles near overhead power lines. Remember, electricity can jump across a considerable distance.

Michigan Co-ops Lead The Way In Renewable Energy

Sun. Water. Wind.

Michiganders know these elements can make for a great day at the beach. Michigan’s electric cooperatives also know these raw energy sources can be a great way to power your home.

From solar to wind to hydroelectric (hydro) power, Michigan’s electric cooperatives are the state’s undeniable leaders in renewable energy.

Collectively, Michigan’s nine electric cooperatives will receive more than 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources in 2017. Meanwhile, the statewide average for other utilities is closer to the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement of 10 percent.

Michigan’s cooperatives have been ahead of the curve on renewable energy for more than a decade.

In 2006, Wolverine Power Cooperative* partnered with John Deere Renewables to develop Michigan’s first commercial scale wind farm in Huron County. The wind farm was fully operational in 2007 with an output of 50 megawatts. The following year, Michigan adopted the RPS which mandated a 10 percent supply of renewable energy be utilized by electric providers by 2015.

After Michigan’s first wind farm, progress continued with the state’s very first community solar project at Cherryland Electric Cooperative in 2013. Another community solar project was built by HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative in 2014. Community solar offers an affordable, convenient way for members to use renewable energy as a power source. A solar panel subscription entitles members to a share of energy produced on a utility-scale community solar array. Participants receive solar credits on their utility bill. It’s a great way to remove up-front costs and installation barriers of solar, making it available to the wider membership.

Cloverland Electric Cooperative operates one of the largest hydropower facilities in Michigan. Located along the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie, the hydro plant produces one-fifth of the power needs of the eastern Upper Peninsula.

Now there’s the new $200 million clean natural gas Alpine Power Plant. Commissioned just this year, it was developed to meet peak demand needs for Michigan co-op members and to supplement the often intermittent nature of renewable energy.

This fall, a partnership that includes several of Michigan’s electric cooperatives will begin construction on a large solar project located in Missaukee County, between Cadillac and Lake City. This large-scale array will begin generating electricity using the sun starting in January 2017. The project is still in the early stages, and more information will appear in future issues of Michigan Country Lines as it develops. Additionally, members can sign-up to receive project updates at spartansolar.com.

So why do Michigan’s electric co-ops continue to lead the way in renewable energy?

“We listen to our members and are able to capitalize quickly on renewable energy opportunities,” said Craig Borr, CEO/president of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA). MECA is the service organization representing electric cooperatives in Michigan.

“Michigan's electric cooperatives got into renewable energy because it was the right thing to do from an environmental standpoint,” said Borr. “But it turns out it’s also the responsible thing to do from a financial standpoint.”

Clean, renewable energy generation is where the future of energy is headed.

And for Michigan co-ops, that future looks pretty bright.

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