May 2019 PIE&G

Page 1

May/June 2019


COUNTRY LINES Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

UP IN THE AIR Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography

PIE&G Gas And Electric Rates

PIE&G Special Board Meeting— May 28 Director Nominations Due June 14


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In This Issue May 2019 || Vol. 39, No. 5


Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives



Your photo could be featured here. michigancountrylines

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Executive Editor: Casey Clark Editor: Christine Dorr

Come share in the splendor of rural Michigan with us

Copy Editor: Heidi Spencer Design and Production: Karreen Bird Publisher: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors. POSTMASTER: SEND ALL UAA TO CFS. Association officers are Robert Kran, Great Lakes Energy, chairman; Mark Kappler, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric, vice chairman; and Eric Baker, Wolverine Power Cooperative, secretarytreasurer. Craig Borr is president and CEO. CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358


Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.

michigancountrylines Pro tip: Water and electricity don’t mix...unless you are mother nature. #donttrythisathome #beautiful : @andrew_long_expo

ON THE COVER Tyler Leipprandt, photographer and owner of Michigan Sky Media, captures a dangling shot of Michigan’s most iconic landmark, the Mackinac Bridge. Read the full story about his spectacular aerial drone photography on page 14.

6 & 7 MI CO-OP COMMUNITY Guest Columns 62 Years Of Michigan Marriage Linda McCoy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative Michigan’s Fishery Is Nature’s School Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy

10 MI CO-OP KITCHEN Breakfast And Brunch Recipes To Enjoy All Day Long


Feature Guest Chef

Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media, shares a family favorite Pudgy Pie campfire recipe. Enter Our Recipe Contest And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

14 FEATURE Up In The Air

Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography Emily Haines Lloyd

18 SAFETY May Is Electrical Safety Month

Life-Saving Tips From Your Co-op Guess Our New Mystery Photo And Win A $50 Bill Credit!

Christin McKamey & Our Readers

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner For more than 38 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information with our members. An empowering communication tool, Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about our services, director elections, member meetings and management decisions that members need to know about as owners of the co-op. The magazine also includes legal notices that would otherwise have to be placed in local media at a substantial cost. Sending Michigan Country Lines to you helps the co-op fulfill one of its essential principles——to educate and communicate openly with its members. The board of directors authorizes the co-op to subscribe to Michigan Country Lines on behalf of each member at an average cost of $3.90 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 49 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published for us, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome and value your comments at






Rate Adjustments And The Transition Into The 21st Century




Board Of Directors Charles Arbour, Treasurer

23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746 989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2020

Allan Berg, Vice-Chairman

1117 E. Heythaler Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2020

Sandy Borowicz, Secretary

5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721 231-627-9220 • Term Expires 2021

John Brown, Chairman

21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749 231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2020

Sally Knopf

1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779 989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2021

Kurt Krajniak

7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707 989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2019

Brentt Lucas

15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2019

Daryl Peterson

P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746 989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2021

Raymond Wozniak

6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776 989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2019

President & CEO: Tom Sobeck

Communications Director/Co-op Editor: Maire Chagnon-Hazelman

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op 19831 M-68 Hwy., P.O. Box 308 Onaway, 49765

Business Office & Billing: 989-733-8515 Toll-Free: 800-423-6634 Gas Emergency Toll-Free: 800-655-8565 Join us on Facebook.

Most PIE&G natural gas rates and charges are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

4 MAY 2019

Tom Sobeck, President & CEO


ach year as the financial audit of our operations nears completion, I start to wonder, will this be the year that last year’s performance will impact our rates? After six years, it finally happened. Electric rates will need an adjustment in 2019. The last distribution rate increase that was approved by your board of directors took place at a special meeting on March 26, 2013 (six years ago), when the overall increase to revenues was set at $865,430. The good news is that, even after six years, the increase to revenue is expected to be lower than the last, or about $617,000. (The notice of the special board meeting to address electric rates can be found in this issue of Country Lines on page 12.) It is noteworthy that, despite rising costs (labor, fuel, materials, etc.) over the past six years, we’ve managed to keep electric rates stable, thereby limiting this increase to about 1.76 percent of our overall electric revenue. I wish I could say “electric rates won’t need adjustment for another six years,” but there are necessary investments on the horizon which will impact rates. Our building, now over 60 years old, is no longer serviceable, and we’re one of only a few utilities in the U.S. without Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Both of these initiatives are essential if we are to maintain reliability and service quality. The scope of “The time has these projects is significant, and the cost will impact now come to both electric and natural gas rates. However, for transition our PIE&G to remain viable for another 60 years, we must operations in a consider our facility to be just as vital to successful more modern operations as AMI is to improve service—from billing and efficient to outage restoration and reliability. As I’ve indicated direction and in the past, we are also extremely mindful of the need to maintain affordable service, and we will thoroughly to upgrade our investigate and review all options for both projects. technology into

the 21st century.”

We’ve managed to operate by making do with our old building, and our old-fashioned “member read” metering system for much longer than anticipated. The time has now come to transition our operations in a more modern and efficient direction and to upgrade our technology into the 21st century. We recognize that AMI has its critics and we are sensitive to these concerns. As we move forward, we will strive to meet the expectations of our entire membership regarding cost, service quality and reliability along the way.

Your Board In Action At its special open board meeting, the PIE&G Board of Directors:

• Accepted the Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) factor reconciliation analysis that indicated an over-collection of power supply costs of $879,343.17 for the 12 months ending December 31, 2018 (incorporated in the 2019 PSCR factor).

At their most recent meetings, the PIE&G Board of Directors: • Accepted the 2018 audit report of the Harris Group.

PIE&G Meter Reading Schedule By County: MAY—Cheboygan, Emmet, Mackinac, plus Hubbard Lake JUNE—Alpena, Alcona, Presque Isle JULY—Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego

• Established the gas cost recovery factor of $0.41540 for Home Rule communities. • Resolved to announce specific Home Rule gas rates under the 2006 Agreement. • Approved the natural gas TIER filing for the MPSC regulated community of Allis Township.

Annual Meter Readings Begin In May

• Approved the amended estate retirement discount factor for early retirement of capital credits to be 6.24 percent.

ver the next three months, PIE&G meter readers will begin reading electric and natural gas meters for our annual verification. Personnel will carry a PIE&G identification badge.

• Authorized the CEO or CFO to execute loan documents with PIE&G’s lender, the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.


To help make this annual process more manageable, we ask that you: • Please have animals leashed and away from the meter location or inside. • Make sure the meter is clear from obstructions and is easily accessible for our meter readers.

• Appointed one new director to the Communities First Fund and reappointed three current directors each for 3-year terms. • Selected students to attend the 2019 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.

Thank You For Your Cooperation!




MI CO-OP Community

62 Years Of Michigan Marriage By Linda McCoy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative member


n July 7, 1957, as young newlyweds, we headed north from Indiana to see the sights.

and Spider Lake. The Driftwood Motel was our destination for many years. We stayed in condos after the Driftwood was no more. As a family of 17, we’ve experienced all the amenities the Traverse City area has to offer.

Our first stop was seven miles west of Kalkaska, Michigan into the Sand Lakes quiet area. Greatgrandpa McCoy was alone now at the nicknamed Visiting Underwood and Rennie orchards in “Bitzy” cabin where he and Great-grandma had July and mushroom hunting in the spring. Our spent many summers. It was a one-room log activities included climbing the dunes, rafting cabin with a hand pump on the porch and an down Crystal River, air shows on East Bay, outhouse out back. They fished the many area Parasailing, bicycling, marching lakes. I wondered how in the band concerts, horseback riding 1940s did they ever find this “Five families of at Ranch Rudolph, fishing and the secluded place? McCoys have an famous Cherry Festival parade. interest and still enjoy We again headed north to see Michigan vacations.” The “Bitzy” cabin was torn the great Mackinac Bridge. We down due to deteriorating logs marveled during the tour that and rebuilt in the ‘90s by the family as vacation took us under the bridge which had one span left to complete before joining Lower Michigan and the time permitted. It is now modern, which was a significant event, complete with power from Upper Peninsula. Cherryland Electric Cooperative. Five families of McCoys have an interest and still enjoy We had little money to spend, but we took in Michigan vacations. many first-time sights, and this would be the beginning of a lifetime of Michigan adventures. The once-newlyweds will celebrate over 62 years It was our home away from home. of marriage in July, and our lifetime memories of happy days with family throughout Michigan Our three children would know Michigan, as well bring us joy. as their spouses and our nine grandchildren. We camped in the early years at Interlochen and Glen Arbor. We rented cottages on Little Glen Linda has lived in Northeast Indiana for all of her 79 years. She is a retired beautician and enjoys caring for families in her community. and Big Glen, and years later at Lake Leelanau

6 MAY 2019

Michigan’s Fishery Is Nature’s School By Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy member


t 5 a.m. on any of the bodies of water I venture to, be it a lake, river, stream, or pond, I am inundated with a myriad of sounds. The slow, rhythmic lap of waves reaching the shore after a night of travel is indeed soothing early in the morning.

way toward the inlet. The rapid flow of water cascades down boulders forming a chaotic scene as it bubbles back up. My line remains steady in the calm water beyond the little falls. I remember not too many years ago bringing my two children here. Armed with fishing gear, Barbies and GI Joes, we had claimed our spot. Amid the yelps of lucky fishermen and those who weren’t so lucky, I heard the laughter of my kids. Today, even though both are now in their late twenties, I can still get them to “wet a line” with me.

The plop of fish on calm waters just before the sun breaks makes an angler’s heart race. The head turns quickly in an attempt to see what it was that raised so quickly and, like an Olympic diver, reenter with “The memories, the Every so often I feel like a little only splash rings remaining, stories, the sights that wave that thought his purpose spreading like oil on the water. a morning offers keep was gone when he reached In fact, when the boat engine is me trickling back to the sandy shore. However, the cut or the paddles raised, the Michigan waters to fish.” memories, the stories, the sights serenity of a moment like this is that a morning offers keep me spine-tingling. trickling back to Michigan waters to fish. I have this sense that if I don’t, it will be the end of something. With a headlamp, waders, rod, small tackle box, flies and other bait, I descend the muddy bank of my favorite river. The eastern sky is lit brightly with Rick taught high school English in Boyne City for 34 years. For the past an easel of colors, making my climb down to the 25 years, he has been an outdoor freelance writer. waters edge flashlight free. The squish and clomp of my wading boots seem to be twenty decibels higher than they need to be. As I approach, there is an eerie screech reverberating from the tree Win $150 for stories published! line. The Blue Herons’ hollering momentarily blocks out the roar of the rushing water. As I near, the finger pier is empty of anglers on this particular morning. Many fishermen will be approaching the mouth soon to test their skill against the steelhead that are now making their

Guest Column: Country Lines invites members to submit their fond memories and stories. For guidelines and to submit your guest column go to under the MI Co-op Community tab.



Recycle Old Appliances To Save Energy And Money!


o you have an old, working refrigerator or chest freezer taking up space in your basement or garage? While you may not think about these appliances often, they could be adding hundreds of dollars to your utility bill each year. Declutter your home and save money with the Energy Optimization program. You can earn $50 for removing and recycling a secondary refrigerator and freezer!*

Free Appliance Pick Up Made Easy: The Energy Optimization team will pick up and recycle your old refrigerator(s) and freezer(s) for FREE. You can choose to send along an old window air conditioner or dehumidifier for recycling as well. NOTE: All items must be in working condition.

How To Participate: Contact the Energy Optimization team at 877-296-4319 to schedule an appointment. A representative from our

Cash incentives are available for the following: Appliance Type

Pick up or Ride-Along Item

Incentive Amount


Pick up


Chest Freezer

Pick up


Window Air Conditioner






*Limit two appliances per year, per residence. All items must be in working condition.

team will come to your home for the pick up, and a cash incentive will be mailed to you. It’s that simple!

More Ways To Save! Working on a remodeling project? Your electric utility’s Energy Optimization program provides cash incentives toward qualifying new ENERGY STAR® appliances, including refrigerators, washers and dryers, ceiling fans, room air conditioners, televisions, and more. Please visit for more information, or call 877-296-4319 with any questions.

Get $50 for your old refrigerator or freezer. Stop wasting energy and money! Recycle old, functioning appliances and earn cash incentives:

Recycle and


■ ■ ■ ■

Refrigerator = $50 Freezer = $50 Dehumidifier (ride along item) = $15 Window Air Conditioner (ride along item) = $15

Contact the Energy Optimization team to schedule a free pickup.

Shopping for new appliances?

Receive cash incentives when you purchase ENERGY STAR® appliances. Visit our website for a complete list of savings opportunities.

ONLINE: PHONE: 877-296-4319

Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Michigan electric service locations only. Other restrictions may apply. For a complete list of participating utilities, visit All items must be in working condition.

Photo Contest 1

Most votes on Facebook!



4 5



Spring Flowers 1. Angus the Basset Hound says “so glad the Spring has sprung in Hubbard Lake”—Mary Lois Centala, Spruce 2. Spring?—Karen Kemp, Lachine 3. Fence line flowers—Brad Taylor, Rogers City 4. Prettiest flower—Joy Klarich, Hubbard Lake 5. Pretty in pink!—Dawn Dowker, Johannesburg 6. Stumbled upon a patch of white wildflower Trilliums walking in the woods—Gloria Zalewski, Lewiston 7. Lil Lucy—Cheri Potysch, Atlanta 8. Spring sunshine!—Debra Stephens, Hubbard Lake 9. A spring surprise—Carol Maym Lewiston


9 Enter to win up to a

Submit Your Favorite “Four-Legged Friends” Photos!

Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes from our Facebook contest will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.


energy bill credit!

Our May theme is Four-Legged Friends. Photos can be submitted through May 20 to be featured in our July/August issue.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest visit and click “Photo Contest” from the menu tabs. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s okay. You can also enter the contest at Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2019, you will be entered to win a credit of up to $200 on your December 2019 bill. MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES


Breakfast & Brunch Start your day right with these savory and sweet recipes. Photos by Robert Bruce Photography

Winning Recipe!

Little Masterpieces (Homemade Doughnuts) Kris Hazeres, Alger Delta ½ 3 1¼ 1½

cup vegetable oil large eggs cups granulated sugar cups applesauce, mashed bananas, puréed strawberries, or puréed fruit of choice teaspoons vanilla extract teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional (good with apple or banana flavored doughnuts) teaspoons salt teaspoons baking powder cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour granulated sugar or cinnamon-sugar, for coating

a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If making muffins, bake for 20—23 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. Note: If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can bake these in a standard muffin tin.

Note: these store well in the freezer. When it’s time to serve, pop them in the microwave for a minute or so, then plate them and fill with ice cream, fruit, pie filling, etc., for an over-the-top looking treat in just a few minutes!

1½ 1 1½ 1½ 1¾ •

Beat together oil, eggs, sugar, puréed fruit, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add flour, stirring just until smooth. Fill wells of the doughnut pans nearly to the rim; use about ¼ cup of batter in each well. If using muffin pans, fill each well about ¾ full; the recipe makes about 15, so you’ll need to bake in two batches (unless you have two muffin pans). Bake doughnuts for 15—18 minutes, or until 10 MAY 2019

Remove doughnuts from oven, and loosen edges. After about 5 minutes, transfer to a rack. While doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), gently shake them, 1 or 2 at a time, in a clean paper bag or baggie with sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle tops with sugar. Cool completely, and wrap airtight; store at room temperature for several days. To make fancy doughnuts: fill the hole in each doughnut with choice of ice cream, pudding, mousse, sliced fruit, etc. Top with sauce; add whipped cream if desired.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

Simple Savory Corn Cakes Deb Finedell, Great Lakes Energy 2 1 ½ 2 1 1 2 1 4 2 1 •


cups all-purpose flour teaspoon baking powder teaspoon salt cups frozen corn, thawed cup (4 ounces) smoked cheddar cheese, shredded cup fat-free (skim) milk egg whites, beaten whole egg, beaten green onions, finely chopped cloves garlic, minced tablespoon chili powder salsa

GUEST CHEF As Tyler Leipprandt of Michigan Sky Media and his family spend their summers camping across Michigan, they know that yummy campfire food is all part of the memorymaking. And no campfire cuisine is complete without a Pudgy Pie.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in corn, cheese, milk, egg whites, egg, green onions, garlic, and chili powder until well blended. Spray a large nonstick

skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Drop batter by ¼ cupfuls into skillet. Cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve with prepared salsa, if desired.

Sausage And Kale Frittata

3 ½ 2 1½ 4

Katie Schneider, Midwest Energy & Communications 8 ¼ ¼ ¹⁄ ³

large eggs teaspoon salt teaspoon black pepper cup milk

cups kale, stems removed, leaves chopped cup chopped red onion cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed teaspoons olive oil ounces Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled ½ cup chopped red bell pepper 2 tomatoes, ¼-inch round slices, cut in half

Combine eggs, salt, pepper, and milk; stir with a whisk. Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté kale, red onion, and garlic in olive oil until tender. Layer in sausage and bell pepper. Carefully pour egg mixture over sausage and bell pepper. Preheat broiler to high. Place tomato slices on top of eggs in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, 5 to 6 minutes, or until eggs are partially set; then broil 5 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned and almost set. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Tailgating Favorites: due July 1 Venison: due August 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $50 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Go to for more information and to register.

Enter to win a


energy bill credit!

Photo by Tyler Leipprandt

Pudgy Pies • • • •

Refrigerated tube biscuits Cooking spray Pudding or pie filling Wooden dowels

Use a 5-inch diameter wooden dowel attached to a roasting stick and spray wooden dowel with cooking spray. Flatten and stretch one biscuit over the end of the dowel. Roast over the fire slowly until biscuit cup is cooked through. Let cool and carefully remove from the dowel. Fill the biscuit cup with your favorite pudding or pie filling or make as a s’more with a roasted marshmallow and chocolate. Read the full story about Tyler Leipprandt on page 14, and find this recipe and others at



Notice To Members Of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op A Special Board Meeting is set for May 28, 2019, 9 a.m., at the cooperative’s Onaway office The board of directors will consider changes to the cooperative’s rates and tariffs at its meeting on May 28, 2019, to be held at 19831 M68 Highway, Onaway, Mich. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. and is open to all members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. The session will begin with an opportunity for members to provide direct input to the board of directors. Members are asked to come to the lobby by 8:45 a.m. and request to speak to the board; staff will direct interested members to the meeting room. Time constraints on each member’s comments will be at the discretion of the board president, but members are asked to keep comments to less than five minutes. The following items will be discussed: • Review and approval of the 2018 Electric Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER) analysis; • Consider revisions to the cooperative’s Electric Rate Tariffs; • Consider revisions to the cooperative’s Aid to Construction Fees and Policies; • Consider revisions to the cooperative’s Special Charges; • Consider revisions to the cooperative’s billing rules. Notices of changes or additions to the cooperative’s rates or service rules shall be sent to all members, as required by P.A. 167, by first class mail or by publication in Michigan Country Lines at least 30 days prior to their effective date. Participation: Any interested member may attend and participate. Persons needing any accommodation to participate should contact Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op at 800-423-6634 a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing or other assistance. Comments may also be made before the meeting date by calling Chief Executive Officer Thomas Sobeck at 800-423-6634, or by email at

Notice to Members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Electric Tariff Changes The Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Board of Directors took the following action related to the cooperative’s electric rates and tariffs at a Special Open Meeting held on March 26, 2019, in accordance with P.A. 167. • Accepted the 2018 Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor reconciliation analysis indicating an overcollection of $879,343.17 for the 12 months ending December 31, 2018 (incorporated in the 2019 PSCR factor). For specific details of any Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op tariffs or fees, please call 1-800-423-6634 or visit

12 MAY 2019

Access To Rules And Rates Please be advised that the following information is available to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op members: 1. Complete rate schedules; 2. Clear and concise explanation of all rates that the member may be eligible to receive; 3. Assistance from the cooperative in determining the most appropriate rate for a member when the member is eligible to receive service under more than one rate; 4. Clear and concise explanation of the members’ actual energy use for each billing period during the last 12 months. The information can be obtained by visiting or contacting Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op at 989-733-8515.

Get Involved In Your Co-op It’s time to nominate potential directors.


o-ops are self-governing organizations controlled by their members who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives on a cooperative board of directors are accountable to all of its members. Since Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op (PIE&G) is a democracy, it works best when you participate in the organization.

Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend and a happy 4th of July holiday!

Any qualified PIE&G member-owner can be elected to serve on the cooperative’s board of directors, and the term of office is three years. In 2019, two directors from the Alpena district and one director from the Presque Isle district will be elected.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op will be closed for the following summer holidays:

Memorial Day——Monday, May 27 Independence Day——Thursday, July 4

Potential nominees must meet the qualifications for the office of director as set forth in Article III, Section 2 of the PIE&G bylaws (available on our website, Any member interested in becoming a candidate is invited to visit the cooperative’s office and learn about the duties performed by the directors. Board of director meetings are usually held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m.

Payments may be made at the co-op’s drop box (checks or money orders only), using SmartHub at or on our free mobile app, or by calling 1-866-999-4571.

To be considered for nomination, submit a letter of interest by June 14th to: Nominating Committee, PIE&G, PO Box 308, Onaway, MI 49765. All letters will be given to the committee for review, and nominations will be made in July. Watch for further information about the Annual Meeting to be held Friday, October 25, 2019, in Onaway.

In case of emergencies, call 1-800-423-6634.

Natural Gas Rates Reduced, Effective April 1 Effective April 1, 2019, natural gas rates will change. The Gas Cost Recovery Factor (GCR) will decrease ($0.0004 cents) as the GCR is lowered from $0.4158 cents to $0.4154 cents per ccf. The monthly and distribution rates have not changed. Please refer to the table below for the itemized charges. Residential

General Service


Monthly Charge




Monthly Availability




GCR $/ccf




Total $/ccf





UP IN THE AIR Michigan Sky Media’s Aerial Photography By Emily Haines Lloyd

very artist finds a way to show others the world from a different perspective. For Tyler Leipprandt, photographer and owner of Michigan Sky Media, his perspective often comes from hundreds of feet in the air with his drone photography. Leipprandt never saw himself as an artist in his earlier life or even once he began working in drone photography for the commercial sector. An athlete growing up, Leipprandt spent most of his time in the gym and didn’t really see art as part of his future plans. Currently, he spends his days in education, instructing teachers how to integrate and use technology in the classroom. “It was my brother who got me interested in drone photography,” said Leipprandt. “No one in our area was really doing aerial shots for real estate, so that’s where I started. We did well in real estate, but I began to see how fun it was to use the drone in other ways.” Snapping cool photos around the state opened Leipprandt’s eyes to all sorts of opportunities; including a visit to the Port Austin Farmers Market where he saw some beautifully handcrafted cutting boards in the shape of Michigan that he noticed people admiring. The very next year, Leipprandt was back at the market, but in his own stall selling his photos that paid homage to

14 MAY 2019


Top left: Lake of the Clouds at sunrise. Top Right: This photo named “Don’t Look Down,” placed in the Top 25 in his category at Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition. Bottom Left: Tahquamenon Falls at twilight. This Page: Leipprandt in the midst of capturing one of his signature dangling shots.

If you want to see more of Tyler Leipprandt’s amazing photography, visit him Saturdays at the Port Austin Farmers Market from Memorial Day through Fall (9am–5pm) or check out his portfolio at He can also be found on Facebook and Instagram @michiganskymedia.

the Great Lakes state. Last year he made the Top 25 in his category at Grand Rapids’ Art Prize competition.

was flying 120mph with the doors off. I’ve never been so cold in my life.”

“These are the places that locals have spent their vacations and spare time exploring all their lives,” said Leipprandt. “Places that you’ve seen a million times, but captured in a totally different way.”

Not all of Leipprandt’s excursions are quite so daredevilish. He, his wife and their four kids spend a good part of their summers exploring Michigan based on year-long pins they’ve stuck in a map. Before dinner, during grace, the kids never forget to say an extra prayer for an RV they can take around the state to cover more ground and capture even more beautiful memories.

Leipprandt’s photos are stunning, from twilight shots of Tahquamenon Falls to aerial feats over The Mighty Mac and University of Michigan’s Big House. Including Leipprandt’s now-signature shots of his feet dangling over the edge of bridges or from the sides of helicopters. “The dangling shots started by accident when my brotherin-law and I went to the U.P. last fall and through some wild circumstances ended up being invited to the top of the Mackinac Bridge,” Leipprandt said. “The Big House pictures were for a marketing promo—it was almost Thanksgiving, about 30 degrees outside and the helicopter

It’s that sense of exploration and curiosity that Leipprandt brings to his photography. The joy of seeing something unique and beautiful that not everyone has an opportunity to experience for themselves. “I love making people excited about where they’re from and what’s around them,” explains Leipprandt. “I want to help folks find new places they can explore for themselves.”

MCL SOCIAL MEDIA TAKEOVER! Watch Tyler Leipprandt as he does a live takeover of Michigan Country Lines’ social accounts, May 6–10. He’ll bring you some amazing, neverbefore-seen shots of the 2019 Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Mich.

May 6–10



01 HOIST For pulling guy wire and conductor to the proper tension.

Insulated fiberglass tool for opening and closing devices on the pole from the ground.

03 GROUND Placed between wires to ensure a line is de-energized before working on it.


02 03



04 CLIMBING BELT Worn around the waist by lineworkers to help with positioning and safety when working on a pole that cannot be reached by a bucket truck.

16 MAY 2019

05 SHOTGUN STICK Insulated fiberglass tool for moving or adjusting live electrical equipment from a bucket truck.

06 CLIMBING HOOKS The sharp hooks, called gaffs, dig into the pole allowing the worker to climb.

07 PPE An acronym for “Personal Protective Equipment� which is mandatory on all job sites. The hard hat protects the head from blows and falling objects; gloves protect from high voltage, cuts or abrasions; while safety glasses protect the eyes.

e v a h a tt o g

Tools To Get Their Job Done And Keep Our Lights On



07 08

10 11



Hung on a device or line to let other crews know that the line is being worked on. This prevents devices from being operated and injuring those working down the line.

Used to pull material, tools, and other items to aerial workers.



Used to indicate if voltage is present before grounding and work begins on a line.



Used to cover lines when doing work on lines that are still energized.


Guess this photo and enter to win a


energy bill credit!

May Is Electrical Safety Month

Electric cooperatives’ top priority is always to provide safe, reliable, and affordable energy to their members. Your well-being and that of the larger communities we serve are of paramount concern. This month, we share a few safety tips that we hope you never have to use. But if you do, they could save their life.

Where In Michigan Is This? Identify the correct location of the photo above by May 20 and be entered into a drawing to win a $50 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at or send by mail to: Country Lines Mystery Photo, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933. Include the name on your account, address, phone number and the name of your co-op. Our Mystery Photo Contest winner from the March issue is Steven ZisslerHayes, a Thumb Electric Co-op member, who correctly identified the photo as Saint John Nepomucene Catholic Church Historical Marker. This church was established in 1885 and is located in East Jordan. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/August, September and November/December.

March 2019

Life-Saving Tips That Can Save Your Life • If a car hits a utility pole, the vehicle may be charged with electricity. Anyone exiting the car could come in contact with thousands of volts of electricity from the downed line. In essence, when you step out of the car, you become part of the electricity’s path to the ground and could be electrocuted. It’s critical for everyone to stay in the vehicle until emergency crews have told you it’s safe to exit the car. • If the vehicle is on fire or you must exit for other safety reasons, jump clear of the vehicle. Do not let any part of your body or clothing touch the vehicle and ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and shuffle away (in small steps with your feet still together) to avoid electric shock. Keep moving away until you are at least 40 feet from the vehicle. • If you come upon a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines, keep your distance. A downed power line can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. The best action you can take is to alert emergency officials. Also, never drive over a downed power line or through water that is touching a downed power line. • If you have a downed power line on your property as a result of a falling tree, storm or other circumstance, do not go near the power line. Assume that the downed line is energized and dangerous. Never try to move the power line even if you think it’s not energized or if you are using a non-conductive material. Please wait until an electric co-op crew or emergency officials have confirmed that it is safe to do so. Contact your local electric co-op for additional electrical safety tips or if you would like to request a safety demonstration at your school or community event. Safety is a top priority!

Photo by Thomas Mann

18 MAY 2019

Hybrid Geothermal


2019 Northeast Michigan Community Calendar MAY

Now–June 10 Sturgeon Guarding—Black River, Cheboygan ( 18 Blessing of the Bikes—Hillman ( 25 - 26 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Arts & Crafts Weekend (near Rogers City) ( 25 – 27 Bridge Race, Parade, Historical Reenactments, Fireworks—Mackinaw City ( 25 Presque Isle Lighthouses (Old & New)—Open Memorial Day—Labor Day (


7–16 70th Annual Lilac Festival—Mackinac Island ( ( 8–9 DNR Free Fishing Weekend ( Hydroplane Races on Grand Lake at Fireside Inn 14–15 27th Annual Presque Isle Harbor Wooden Boat—Classic Car Show ( Cancelled 39th Annual Lumberjack Festival—Wolverine ( 27–29 44th Annual St. Ignace Car Show Weekend ( ( 27–30 Waterways Festival—Cheboygan (


4th of July Celebrations: Alpena—Parade @ 11 am, Fireworks & Maritime Festival ( Atlanta –Parade, Fireworks @ Atlanta High School ( Cheboygan—Parade @ 10 am, Fireworks @ County Fairgrounds ( Lewiston—Parade 11 am ( Indian River—Parade @ 11 am, Fireworks July 5th ( Mackinaw City—Fireworks every Friday @ Dusk & Waterfront Events ( ( Onaway—Parade @ 12 noon, Arts & Crafts, VFW Chicken Dinner, Fireworks ( 6 Mill River Days—Craft show, Fireworks—Hillman ( 18–21 39th Annual Summer Fest—Indian River ( 20–28 45th Annual Michigan Brown Trout Festival—Alpena ( ( 22–27 Montmorency County 4-H Fair—Fairgrounds in Atlanta ( July 30–Aug 4 Nautical Festival—Rogers City (


2–3 Mackinaw Area Historical Festival—Mackinaw City ( 6–10 Cheboygan County Fair ( 5–11 144th Alpena County Fair ( ( 9–10 29th Annual Timberfest—Lewiston ( 10 V-J Day Celebration—Hillman (


2 62nd Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk ( 6–8 68th Annual Posen Potato Festival ( 27–29 35th Annual Elk Festival—Atlanta ( Please check websites for event updates. Not all 2019 information was available at press time.

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