May 2023 PIE&G

Page 1

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op May 2023 MICHIGAN
PIE&G Electric Rates to Increase June 1 Get Involved With Your Co-op
a Mixed Bag of Cultural Experiences

Not hearing is believing.

Many homeowners have come to accept that a noisy A/C is a fact of life. But with WaterFurnace, you don’t have to settle.

Nothing can disrupt a perfect summer afternoon in your backyard more than a loud air conditioner. Geothermal users are never disturbed from outside HVAC noise because there’s no outdoor equipment to make any. All the complicated work takes place underground—out of earshot. With WaterFurnace, your peace and quiet is assured. To learn more, contact your local WaterFurnace dealer today.

Geothermal is the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.



Allendale Htg & Clg (800) 327-1937

Bad Axe/Ubly

Cutting Edge Htg & Clg (989) 551-0986

Berrien Springs

Waterfurnace Michiana (269) 473-5667


Big Rapids Stratz Htg & Clg, Inc. (231) 796-3717

Clifford Orton Refrig & Htg (989) 761-7691

Hart Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665


Indian River M&M Plmb & Htg (231) 238-7201

Lansing Candor Mechanical (517) 920-0890

Lowell Arctic Inc. Htg. & Clg. (616) 897-4213


Top Notch Htg, Clg, & Geothermal (231) 350-8052

Michigan Center Comfort 1/Air Serv of Southern Michigan (517) 764-1500

Mt Pleasant Walton Htg & Clg (989) 772-4822

Muskegon Adams Htg & Clg (231) 873-2665

Portland ESI Htg & Clg (517) 647-6906

Sunfield Mark Woodman Plmb & Htg (517) 886-1138

Traverse City

D&W Mechanical (231) 941-1251


Cloverland: up to $4200

Great Lakes: up to $3000

Homeworks/Tri-County: up to $3000

Presque Isle: up to $2700

Cherryland: up to $2500

Thumb Electric: up to $2000

Alger Delta: up to $2000

WaterFurance is a registered trademark of WaterFurance International, Inc. ©2023 *30% through 2032, 26% through 2033 and 22% through 2034

Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


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: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill, HomeWorks TriCounty Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.


201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: 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.

Michigan Country Lines, Your Communications Partner

For more than 40 years, our co-op members have received Michigan Country Lines because it is the most effective and economical way to share information. Michigan Country Lines keeps members up-to-date about everything going on within their electric co-op. Issues contain news about co-op 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 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 $4.15 per year, paid as part of members’ electric bills. The current magazine cost is 52 cents per copy. Michigan Country Lines is published, at cost, by the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association in Lansing. As always, we welcome your comments at


Instagram contest winner

Weathered and wonderful @lexannrebecca

(LexAnn De Weerd)


An unconventional, but life-changing, retreat helps women fish their way toward healing from breast cancer.

10 MY CO-OP KITCHEN Breakfast for Dinner: Change up your routine and delight your taste buds.


From stainless steel to EVs, Eagle Mine meets the ever-rising demand for nickel—in a sustainable and responsible way.


Reflections on Our Pond: A GLE member recalls how a tiny body of water had a huge impact on her family.

MI Co-op Community

To enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit

Instagram Contest

Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. Win $100 for photos published!

Recipe Contest

See details on page 10. Chocolate due July 1. Win a $100 bill credit!

Guest Column

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit to submit. Win $200 for stories published!

Mystery Photo

See details on page 18. Win a $100 bill credit!

Contents May 2023 Vol. 43, No. 5 /michigancountrylines /michigancountrylines


Charles Arbour

23899 M32 S, Hillman MI 49746

989-657-4358 • Term Expires: 2023

Allan Berg, Vice-Chairman

8400 Lost Lake Rd., Hawks, MI 49743

989-734-0044 • Term Expires 2023

Sandy Borowicz, Secretary 5341 Carlson Rd.,Cheboygan, MI 49721

231-627-9220 • Term Expires 2024

John Brown, Chairman 21 W. Devereaux Lake Rd., Indian River, MI 49749

231-625-2099 • Term Expires 2023

Sally Knopf

1849 W. 638 Hwy., Rogers City, MI 49779

989-734-4196 • Term Expires 2024

Kurt Krajniak 7630 Wallace Rd., Alpena, MI 49707

989-884-3037 • Term Expires 2025

Brentt Lucas 15841 Carr Rd., Posen, MI 49776

989-766-3678 • Term Expires 2025

Daryl Peterson, Treasurer

P.O. Box 54, Hillman, MI 49746

989-742-3145 • Term Expires 2024

Raymond Wozniak

6737 State St., Posen, MI 49776

989-766-2498 • Term Expires 2025

President & CEO: Thomas J. Sobeck

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

Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op

3149 Main Street (M-211)

Onaway, MI 49765

Business Office & Billing: 989-733-8515

Toll-Free: 800-423-6634

Gas Emergency Toll-Free: 800-655-8565

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.

Electric Rates Are On The Rise

At their recent member regulation special meeting held on March 28, the board of directors acted upon management’s recommendation for the need to increase electric rates. A review of the cooperative’s financial performance from 2022 indicated the need to increase rates by approximately $3.7 million. We realize that’s a big number, and the increase will be distributed among all rate classes.

The cost of electricity continues to climb due to several factors, including increased costs of materials and generation. The most noticeable change in rates for residential members will be an increase of $6 on the monthly availability charge. The last increase in this charge was in 2013. This charge is often misunderstood, but it does provide a fair and equitable method to recover our costs from every member receiving service. The cost to deliver electricity to a meter in northeast Michigan has nothing to do with the amount of electricity delivered or used by members. Rather, it represents the costs of maintaining and operating the distribution system. That includes annual tree trimming, system maintenance, outage response and restoration, wages, and, yes, technology and infrastructure improvements. Nobody likes to talk about rising costs and rates, yet it is an unavoidable fact of doing business. All businesses strive to balance competing interests of setting a fair price for goods and services against the true costs of providing a consistent, quality product or service. Our industry is no different. Costs do increase, and performing routine maintenance to meet both reliability standards and member expectations is always the most difficult challenge we undertake. Allocating the increase via the monthly availability charge ensures two goals: It provides an equitable division of operational costs to deliver reliable service, and it establishes a stable, consistent cash flow to operations.

Regarding the first goal, PIE&G’s costs to provide services are not associated with our energy sales. That is why the monthly availability charge paid by everyone provides the fairest way to recover these costs. The availability charge is equitable because the cost to serve each meter point is the same, regardless of the amount of energy used. Thus, all members should pay their proportionate share of the co-op’s costs to deliver electricity. Regarding the second goal, the monthly availability charge provides a stabilized cash flow throughout the year, regardless of sales volume (the amount of energy sold). This allows the co-op to meet its financial obligations and provides consistency in operations.

It’s important that our members understand and acknowledge the importance of our recent investments to replace our inadequate 65-year-old building with the new headquarters facility and modernize our distribution system with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology. Together, these state-ofthe-art improvements projects totaled approximately $30 million. No business can make needed investments of this nature without affecting the rates charged to consumers. At the same time, a utility cannot increase efficiency and reliability of service without making these crucial investments. The decision was uncomfortable, but leadership at PIE&G believes the choice is clear—an increase in rates is prudent and reasonable to achieve both reliability of service and long-term affordability. I respect our board of directors for its courage and commitment to the future viability of our cooperative.

As always, please contact with me directly with any questions or concerns. I’m happy to discuss them with you.

4 MAY 2023


Notice to Members of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Electric Tariff and Rule Changes

The Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op Board of Directors adopted the following changes to the cooperative’s electric tariffs at its Special Open Meeting and regular board meeting held on March 28, 2023, in accordance with P.A. 167:

• Approved the reconciliation of the 2022 Power Supply Cost Recovery Factor net overcollection of $54,524 and incorporation into the 2023 PSCR factor, with a continued refund of this amount throughout the 2023 calendar year;

• Approved the 2022 Electric Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER) analysis requiring a revenue increase of $3,735,417 to be equitably allocated among the following rate classes: Monthly Residential, Seasonal Residential, General Service, Large General Service, Large Power Time of Day, Primary Service, and Outdoor Lighting. The rate increase will be effective with bills rendered on or after June 1, 2023, and will affect the average residential member bill using 664 kWh/month by approximately $9.34 per month or $112.08 per year;

• Approved revisions to the cooperative’s Seasonal and Monthly Residential Electric Tariffs to accommodate the future transition from annual to monthly billing frequency for all accounts.

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. For specific details of any Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op tariffs or fees, please call 1-800-423-6634 or visit our website at

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 member’s 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.

RATE CLASS Current Availability Charge $/Month New Availability Charge $/Month Increase $/Month Current Distribution Charge $/kWh New Distribution Charge $/kWh Increase $/kWh Monthly Residential $18 $24 $6 $0.04163 $0.04612 $0.00449 Seasonal Residential $19 $25 $6 $0.09736 $0.10810 $0.01074 General Service (1 phase) $16 $24 $8 $0.03230 $0.03482 $0.00252 General Service (3 phase) $35 $42 $7 $0.03230 $0.03482 $0.00252 Large General Service $50 $50 $0 $0.02074 $0.02486 $0.00412 Large Power Time of Day $60 $60 $0 $0.07493 $0.07791 $0.00298 Primary Service $0.01246 $0.01444 $0.00198 Outdoor Lighting— Monthly Charge Current $/Month New $/Month Increase $/Month 40W LED T5 $7.51 $7.91 $0.40 70W LED T3/T5 $8.95 $9.64 $0.69

Casting for Recovery Michigan

An unconventional, but life-changing, retreat helps women fish their way toward healing from breast cancer

In late August, 14 women who have been afflicted with breast cancer will gather at the beautiful Barothy Lodge in Walhalla, Michigan, on the Pere Marquette River for a weekend of camaraderie, discussion, medical and psychological guidance, and, surprisingly enough, fly fishing. It’s all part of a Casting for Recovery (CfR) retreat, where participants get a few days to set aside worries about their diagnosis, doctor appointments, and fear of the future, and come away from their respite equipped with powerful tools that enable them to face challenges moving forward.

Casting for Recovery is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1996 in Vermont. It was created by a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher, with the idea to take the healing power of nature and combine it with the casting motions of fly fishing. These motions closely mimic those that are prescribed to breast cancer patients after radiation or surgery to help them increase mobility in the arms and upper body.

Karen O’Briant, the co-coordinator of the CfR Michigan program, and a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member, came upon the organization in an unfortunate manner—she

was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. “Normally, when you go through chemo, you can take someone with you for support,” she said. “But I had to go through it by myself.” O’Briant, who said she was not big on support groups at the time, found herself looking for some comfort. One day in her surgeon’s office, she was discussing her hobby of fly fishing with a nurse, and the nurse told her there was a group that offered a fly fishing retreat for breast cancer patients. After investigating and discovering CfR, O’Briant applied for the 2021 retreat and got in as an alternate. The experience meant so much to her that she jumped at the chance to work for the organization, where she now helps arrange and fundraise for the annual retreat.

CfR retreats run for two and a half days. They are totally free for the women in attendance, who are chosen through a drawing of applicant names, and all of the fishing equipment, food, and lodging is provided. The guided fly fishing excursion occurs on the last day of the retreat. In preparation for that, the women learn about things like tying fishing knots, casting, bugs they’ll find on the water, the flow of the river, etc. When not in educational sessions, the women participate in discussions with each other and

6 MAY 2023

the volunteer medical and psychological facilitators. The conversations help in two ways—the women get to talk about their own experiences and feel the catharsis that comes with opening up, while also benefitting from hearing the stories of people who are going through the same thing they are. Reflecting on her own experience, O’Briant said, “We all laughed and cried. I hadn’t really been able to talk to others about it because they didn’t understand. The emotions you go through are healing, and you can find inspiration and hope from the other women. I’ve made lifelong friends.” After two days of learning, talking, and eating the meals provided by the Pere Marquette Bistro in Reed City—which O’Briant says is amazing—the women are ready to hit the river. Each participant pairs up with one of the volunteer river helpers, who are all experienced anglers, and the groups are assigned to particular stations (with accommodations given to those who need them). Whether they catch anything or not, the experience is transformative. “It’s so tranquil just being there and listening to the water,” O’Briant said. The day concludes with a lunch and a graduation ceremony, where women take pictures with their helpers, and receive a certificate and a lanyard.

CfR is still accepting applications for this year’s retreat. O’Briant said she strongly recommends that you apply if you are a woman who has or has had breast cancer. “There is no experience like it,” she said. “It totally changed my outlook on cancer and treatments, and it gave me hope for the future.”


• Retreats are appropriate for women in all stages of treatment and recovery, and are open to women of all ages.

• There are 40+ retreats nationwide, and CfR has inspired similar programs in six countries outside the U.S.

• To date, CfR has helped over 10,000 women with breast cancer.

CfR relies on the support of more than 1,800 volunteers nationwide, including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors, and alumnae. It also relies heavily on fundraising. If you would like to donate money or your time, visit and click on “Ways to Help.”

Support the Michigan program by directing your donation to the secure online form at and choose Michigan or use this QR code.

“ We all laughed and cried. I hadn’t really been able to talk to others about it because they didn’t understand. The emotions you go through are healing, and you can find inspiration and hope from the other women. I’ve made lifelong friends.”

Goodbye, Junk— Hello, Summer

Need to make some room in your garage for new summer toys? Want a bit more summer spending money in your pocket? PIE&G’s Energy Optimization program is here to help with appliance recycling! When it’s time to replace that old refrigerator, freezer, dehumidifier, or room AC, PIE&G will pick it up for FREE from May-October, and then send you a rebate check!

Replacing your appliances with new, more efficient ENERGY STAR® products may also qualify you for additional incentives from $30–$500.

Refrigerator Recycling Realities

You’re not the only one who benefits from recycling outdated equipment. Appliance recycling has major advantages for the environment, too.

• An older refrigerator uses twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator.

• Recycling old refrigerators prevents refrigerants and foam from entering the environment, preventing 10,000 pounds of carbon pollution.

• Refrigerators that are 10+ years old can consist of 120 pounds of steel, which can be recycled and reused.

Ready to schedule your pickup? Call (877) 296-4319 Monday–Friday between 8 a.m.–5 p.m. The program ends in October 2023. Find details and more ways to save at Presque Isle Energy Optimization programs and incentives are applicable to Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op electric service locations only. Incentive applies to qualiied items purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023. Other restrictions may apply. For complete program details, visit FREE PIC KUP! CALL: 877.296.4319 VISIT: Recycle your old, inefficient appliances & earn cash rebates! u Refrigerator: $25 rebate u Chest Freezer: $25 rebate u Room Air Conditioner: $25 rebate (ride-along item) u Dehumidifier: $25 rebate (ride-along item) Appliances Recycling (seasonal) Incentive Refrigerator or Freezer 10–30 cubic feet, in working condition. Limit 2. $25 Room AC or Dehumidifier Eligible for pickup with a qualifying refrigerator or freezer. Limit 2. $25


Enter to win up to a $50 energy bill credit!

Submit Your “Camping” Photos By May 20! Submit your best photo and encourage others to vote! The


in our July/August issue.

To enter the contest, visit

Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your January 2024 bill.



7 6 10 3 8 1 9 2 5 4
photo receiving the most votes in
photo contest will
printed in an issue of Country Lines, along with some of our other favorites. Our May theme is Camping. Photos can be submitted through May 20 to be featured
2. Sharpest “red ride” this side of the Straits!! Kathryn Scoon 3. Electric bike at Cornwall Flooding, Pigeon River Country. Rachel White 4. The wicked witch from Oz rode her bike to visit our farm in Posen! Sharon Wyman 5. Not going anywhere but the coffee is good! Joy Klarich 6. Frannie making a splash! Kara D’Andrea 7. My bike and I love to spend time along Michigan’s beautiful Great Lakes! Malynn Hannewald 8. Bike to the beach. Peter Bagwell 9. Mother and son fun at Arch Rock, Mackinac Island! Celeste Milne 10. Cruising along Mackinac Island. Jennifer Elliott 1. At 80, I bought an E-bike to help me ride through the sand where I live. Marion Wood


Fun to eat morning and night.

Recipe Contest

Win a $100 energy bill credit!

Chocolate recipes due July 1

Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Submit your recipe at , or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to


Ann Utter, Presque Isle

1 pound mild pork sausage (or substitute w/ small cubes of cooked ham)

12 eggs

2 cups (16 ounces) small curd cottage cheese

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Monterey

Jack cheese (or pepper jack cheese)

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free)

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, optional

¾ cup onion, finely chopped

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained

• grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage (if using) until no longer pink; drain. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, cheeses, flour, butter, and baking powder. Stir in mushrooms, onion, chilies, and sausage (or ham). Transfer to two greased 9-inch round baking dishes (dishes will be quite full). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes two quiches (6–8 servings each). Divide recipe ingredients in half to make one quiche.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at

|| Recipes submitted by MCL readers and tested by recipe editor Christin McKamey MI CO-OP Recipes
Photos by Robert Bruce Photography
10 MAY 2023


Janet Cather, Midwest Energy

1 pound ground pork, browned (I use chorizo, but you can use plain/ Italian too)

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheddar cheese, divided

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas (I use whole wheat)

6 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup unsweetened milk of choice (I use unsweetened soy milk)

1 tablespoon flour

• favorite jarred salsa

• diced green onions, for topping, optional

Optional Serving Sides:

• sour cream

• hash browns/tater tots

• Mexican street corn

• additional salsa

Spray 9x13 metal pan with cooking spray (if using glass, cooking time may vary).

Combine browned sausage with 1 cup cheese and diced green chiles. Place ¹⁄ 8

(around ½ cup+) of the mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. In another large bowl, whisk/beat the eggs, heavy cream, milk, and flour (note: it’s best to first shake the flour with a portion of the milk in a small lidded container, around 4 ounces, to ensure the flour is blended in). Pour egg mixture evenly over the tortillas in the pan. Cover the dish and place in fridge for 6+ hours (this allows the tortillas time to absorb the egg mixture and prevent it from being too runny). Preheat the oven to 350 F when ready to bake. Remove cover from the dish and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese over the tortillas. Bake covered with foil for 40–45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10–15 minutes. Remove dish from oven and spread as much salsa as you want on top of the tortillas. You can add the diced green onions at this point too. Serve with remaining salsa along with any other chosen sides. Enjoy! Note: I prep this recipe around 10 a.m. for a 7 p.m. dinner. Or, you can prep the night before for a hearty breakfast.


Deanne Quain, Great Lakes Energy

1 (13.8-ounce) tube refrigerated pizza crust

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons water

6–8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Unroll and press dough onto the bottom and ½ inch up

the sides of a 15x10x1-inch pan. Prick thoroughly with a fork, then brush with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake until lightly browned, 7–8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg and water. In a nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggs and scramble over medium heat until thickened, slowly moving the eggs around until softly scrambled and fluffy. Spoon over crust and sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5–7 minutes.


Jack Schonert, Great Lakes Energy

1 pound bacon, divided

1 pound ground sausage, divided

1 (8-count) can biscuits

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups grated cheese, divided

6 eggs

3¹⁄ ³ cups milk, divided

¹⁄ 8 teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup flour

¹⁄ 8 -¼ teaspoon salt

¹⁄ 8 -¼ teaspoon black pepper

• Optional: mushrooms, diced red or green bell pepper, red pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F. Fry the bacon and sausage; drain grease. Cut or crumble the

bacon into pieces and place both together back into a big frying pan or saucepan. Grease sides and bottom of 9x13 pan. Cut biscuits into quarters and place in bottom of the pan. Layer a quarter of both the bacon and sausage over the biscuits; sprinkle with onion and 1 cup cheese. Whisk eggs in a bowl; stir in ¹⁄ ³ cup milk and nutmeg. Pour evenly over the biscuits. To the remaining ¾ of sausage and bacon, add flour, salt, and pepper (and optional ingredients), and remaining 3 cups milk. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened. Pour over biscuits and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.


Fuel Mix Report

The fuel mix characteristics of Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op as required by Public Act 141 of 2000 for the 12-month period ended 12/31/22.

Have Fuel source Your co-op’s fuel mix Regional average fuel mix Coal 20.215% 33.472% Oil 0.248% 0.476% Gas 18.407% 29.441% Hydroelectric 0.518% 0.873% Nuclear 40.632% 25.901% Renewable Fuels 19.980% 9.837% Biofuel 0.316% 0.662% Biomass 0.181% 0.417% Solar 0.856% 0.766% Solid Waste Incineration 0.080% 0.011% Wind 18.341% 7.567% Wood 0.206% 0.414% Type of emission/waste lbs/MWh Your co-op Regional average* Sulfur Dioxide 0.50 0.92 Carbon Dioxide 634.8 1,061.3 Oxides of Nitrogen 0.43 0.84 High-Level Nuclear Waste 0.009 0.006 12 MAY 2023

Your Board In Action

The PIE&G Board of Directors decided the following items at these recent meetings:

Special Member Regulation Board Meeting

• Accepted the 2022 Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) Factor reconciliation.

• Accepted the 2022 Electric TIER Analysis and approved an overall revenue increase of $3,735,417.

• Approved the rate increase per rate class as presented by PIE&G staff.

• Approved adjustments to the Availability Charge for several rate classes as presented by PIE&G staff.

• Approved revisions to the cooperative’s residential monthly and residential seasonal tariffs.

Regular Board Meeting

• Approved an increase to the Estate Retirement Discount Factor from 5.16% to 5.74%.

• Approved three organizations for participation in the CoBank Sharing Success program.

• Approved Resolution 2023-04 recognizing the retirement of employee Norma Ellenberger, data processing supervisor, for her 38 years of dedicated service.

• Accepted Team Reports.

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

Memorial Day—Monday, May 29

Independence Day—Tuesday, July 4

Your Co-op’s Fuel Mix Regional Average Fuel Mix
Emissions And Waste Comparison
Comparison Of Fuel Sources Used
*Regional average information was obtained from the MPSC website and is for the 12-month period ending 12/31/22. Presque Isle Electric & Gas purchases 100% of its electricity from Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative, Inc., which provided this fuel mix and environmental data. NOTE: Biomass excludes wood; solid waste incineration includes landfill gas; and wind includes a long-term renewable purchase power contract in Wolverine’s mix.
Payments may be made anytime at the co-op’s drop box (checks or money orders only), using PIE&G’s SmartHub account management tool (available on the web at or by free mobile download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store), or by calling 1-866-999-4571. In case of emergencies, call 1-800-423-6634. a safe Memorial Day weekend and a happy Fourth of July holiday!

PIE&G Meter Reading Schedule By County:

MAY—Cheboygan, Emmet, Mackinac

JUNE—Alcona, Alpena, Presque Isle

JULY—Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego

Annual Meter Readings Begin In May

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

To help make this annual process easier, 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.

Thank You For Your Cooperation!

Get Involved In Your Co-op

It’s time to nominate potential directors.

Co-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.

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 2023, one director from each of the following districts will be elected: Cheboygan, Montmorency, and Presque Isle.

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 call the cooperative’s office and learn about the duties performed by the directors. Board of director meetings are usually held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m.

To be considered for nomination, submit a letter of interest by June 15 to: Nominating Committee, PIE&G, P.O. 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, Oct. 27, in Onaway.


Any qualified member can be elected to serve. The term of office is three years.



Not many business models begin with an ending in mind. But that’s how Eagle Mine in western Marquette County started its business activity.

“With the last 10 years or so, that’s what sustainable mining means,” said External Communications Manager Matt Johnson of Lundin Mining Co., which owns Eagle Mine. “You design a mine for closure. Before you even open, you have to prepare to close it responsibly.”

Eagle Mine is the only active nickel mine in the United States right now, with a concentration on unearthing an ore body that hopes to produce enough nickel to meet the ever-rising global demand.

Nickel doesn’t have the same cachet as gold and silver, but it is an absolute necessity in the production of things like stainless steel products. Consider your favorite kitchen upgrade with a stainless refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. Each of those appliances benefits from the antimicrobial, anti-rust, and anti-corrosion attributes of stainless steel, but the nickel makes them even stronger and more resistant to wear and tear.

In fact, there is an even greater demand for nickel these days as we see energy-efficient electric vehicles hitting the scene. Nickel is a mineral that helps increase energy storage in lithium-ion batteries, boosting the range electric cars can drive on a single charge.

14 MAY 2023

“At this point in our country’s production history, we need minerals, and those minerals need to be mined. But we’re going to make sure it’s done sustainably, responsibly, and transparently.”

“There is no electric vehicle battery without nickel,” notes Johnson. “In 2017, about 3% of nickel went into the EV industry. In the next 10 years, we’re looking at closer to 40%.”

It’s a complex cycle of electric vehicles helping to reduce emissions and the impact on the climate, and encouraging additional production of environmentally friendly cars. However, mining is at the heart of that production stream. While nickel could be mined and purchased from other countries, many of them have much looser rules and guidelines regulating them. There are big benefits to having a U.S.-based mine that holds itself to the highest environmental and social standards.

“Part of our company’s mission is to fund and partner with groups to delve deeper into the research, create bestpractice critical material development, and create a new stream for critical minerals for batteries,” said Johnson. “The increased demand for nickel is nearly 100 times what it was just a decade ago. So, we need to increase our level of responsibility to make sure we are helping to solve problems, not create more.”

Eagle Mine has developed many relationships to help create better systems for solving those problems. They’ve partnered with Michigan Technological University to develop new research technologies that create sustainable processes in order to supply critical minerals for battery manufacturing, as well as to make a concentrated effort to improve battery recycling. These efforts are necessary, but are also just the beginning to meet the ever-increasing demand for metal in new products and technologies.

“We are leaders in mining best practices,” said Johnson. “We need to balance meeting the demand with making sure our impact is as limited as possible.”

While Eagle Mine is identifying the environmental impacts, they also concern themselves with community impact. They hold local forums every six months to engage in folks’ questions and concerns and ensure they are responding in kind.

“Constructive dialogue is critical to what we do. We don’t have all the answers, because we can’t know all the questions. We listen and respond seriously to the community,” said Johnson. “We don’t just have a responsibility to the community while the mine is open, we need to make sure we don’t have a negative impact once it closes as well.”

Right now it looks like the mine could close sometime in the next four years, unless bigger ore stores are discovered. For now, Eagle Mine is keeping the nickel coming with the help of their nearly 400 employees to meet the needs of the electric vehicle industry and cleaner transportation.

“At this point in our country’s production history, we need minerals, and those minerals need to be mined,” said Johnson. “But we’re going to make sure it’s done sustainably, responsibly, and transparently.”

For more information:


Besser Museum Offers a Mixed Bag of Cultural Experiences

Scientific, artistic, and historical discoveries abound at this eclectic museum in Alpena.

Perhaps you’re craving a dose of culture, but you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for ... art? History? Science? If you live in the PIE&G service area, you don’t have to choose—just visit the Besser Museum in Alpena, where all three are preserved, exhibited, and celebrated under one roof.

The museum is a 42,000-square-foot facility containing a collection of more than 47,000 artifacts. It was established in 1966 through a monetary gift from Jesse Besser, who created the Besser Company in Alpena and is famous for inventing the “Besser block,” which revolutionized the concrete block-making industry. Museum Executive Director Christine Witulski said, “Jesse Besser wanted to bring the outside world into Northeast Michigan so that people could have experiences they might not have otherwise.”

One such experience awaits at the state-of-theart digital planetarium, the only one of its kind within 150 miles. In addition to showing films and various exhibitions, Wiltulski said the planetarium serves as a complement to the four dark sky parks nearby. “We utilize our planetarium to teach people what to look for,” she said. “We help them navigate the night sky, pointing out the astronomical features they’d be able to see and leaving them more familiar with things like

constellations and the visible planets when they go into these parks.”

Another popular science exhibit is the twostory Foucault pendulum that consists of a heavy weight on a long wire, the swing of which demonstrates the rotation of the Earth. Science can also be found in the yard of the museum, which houses the Devonian fossil park. Visitors learn about the Devonian Period (which was roughly 400 million years ago) and literally get to unearth cultural gems in the form of fossils from that era that they can then bring home.

If it’s the arts that inspire you, you’ll find paintings and sculptures that cannot be found anywhere else in Northeast Michigan. In addition to world-renowned talents such as Dali, Cezanne, Renoir, Picasso, and Chihuly, the museum features work from local, regional, state, and national artists. Art exhibits are regularly rotated so visitors always have something new to see.

History buffs who visit will feel like they’ve been transported back in time. A popular feature is a recreated 1890s “Avenue of Shops,” where people get the opportunity to walk through “old Alpena.” There’s also the Historic Village, which contains five original structures that are over 100 years old. Many other exhibits explore the state’s rich history, from lumbering to farming to

16 MAY 2023

Native American history, geology, and industry. The Natural Wildlife Gallery features native and non-native Michigan Great Lakes fish, a variety of flora and fauna, and a great number of mounted animals. Also on display is the last remaining Alpena Flyer in the world. (Yes, the Alpena Motor Car Company was a thing that existed, albeit not for long.)

Naturally, there’s a maritime history aspect to the museum—you’ll find both the Katherine V and the Chinook on view. The research vessel Chinook, originally built for the Michigan Department of Conservation and then transferred to the Alpena Fisheries Research Station, was donated to the museum in 2016. The Katherine V is a 1928 wooden commercial fishing vessel believed to be the last large intact wooden fishing tug that sailed Lake Huron. “These boats really tell the stories of the Great Lakes fisheries heritage,” Christine said. The boats are open for tours during Besser’s Fall Harvest Fest and Log Cabin Day (this year’s Log Cabin Day is June 24 and would be an excellent time to visit the museum).

With the diversity of offerings at Besser, Witulski, who has been with the museum for 13 years and served as executive director since 2012, says it can be challenging to decide what’s worthy of display. “It’s such a big institution,” she said. “We want to make sure everything reflects the creativity, community support, and preservation of the legacy of this area that’s made us what we are.” Their discernment pays off—“People come in and are surprised, saying, ‘Wow, I had no idea there was a museum of this quality in rural Northeast Michigan,’” she said. The evident delight of visitors is Witulski’s favorite part of the job. “It’s just great to have the opportunity to create really unique experiences for visitors of all ages,” she said.

Current renovations

In the future, there will be even more to enjoy at Besser. Witulski said the museum is in the midst of a $1.5 million project that will transform 3,000 square feet of exhibit space into an immersive experience incorporating 21st-century design and technology. It will further reflect upon the area’s history, representing 11 different timelines. The upgrade is expected to be completed in December 2024.

Donations are welcome!

As a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, Besser does not get continual local, state, or federal funding. It relies on entry fees, fundraising, grants, and donations. You can donate by becoming a member—there are various levels of membership, and all of them come with free annual admission to the museum. Go to for more details or to find out how to make a donation.

Volunteers are needed, too

The museum sees about 20,000 people come through a year, and about 2,000 of them are students on field trips. With just seven employees, additional help is greatly appreciated. Volunteers can give as little or as much time as they choose. Visit for more information. /bessermuseum /bessermuseum 17 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES
“We want to make sure everything reflects the creativity, community support, and preservation of the legacy of this area that’s made us what we are.”

Reflections On Our Pond

Our 24-year-old son came over today with youthful enthusiasm and energy, claiming he would get the pond ready to skate on. Last year, to my delight, he and his girlfriend (now his wife) did the same thing.

Why is this a moment? It blesses me to my core. For over 20 years, my husband and I spent many winter afternoons using shovels to clear the pond so the kids could skate after school. It became my aerobic exercise for the day. What a treat it was to have our little sanctuary of winter fun, and now as we approach our senior years, our youngest son is taking it over and continuing the tradition—albeit in a different manner. Rather than shoveling, he tows the snowblower, mounted on the snow scoop, and pulls them both behind the snowmobile to take down to the pond. After removing the snow, he cuts a hole in the pond and spreads a fresh sheen of ice over its entirety with fivegallon buckets.

That pond has such precious memories. The children and I have had picnics on its shore in the spring before the mosquitoes hatch. One Father’s Day, we spent the day crafting a log raft. We have “fished” for leaves in the surrounding swamp. There have been turtle-catching days, especially for the elusive old man snapper. There was even a campout that my husband had with the two older boys in a tent on the pond’s shore while spring peepers and bullfrogs hammered in their ears. He didn’t get any sleep that night.

Many children have shared the joys of our little slice of nature as the kids have brought friends to share in the fun. My oldest son had the “best night of his life” and the “worst night of his life” on that pond within a span of 20 minutes. What started as an exciting night of potential hockey with brooms and a block of wood for a puck was quickly terminated shortly after we stepped onto the ice. Not only were we going to skate by the light of the moon, but stepping onto the ice made the loudest crack I’d ever heard. Images of being swallowed up in the dark, murky water took over my mind and ended our adventure—Ahh— the disappointments of youth.

Mystery Photo

Win a $100 energy bill credit!

There have even been a few magical winters when the swamp froze along with the pond. My daughter and youngest son would skate with me throughout the woods, circling trees and bushes in what felt like a magical fairyland. My husband and I bought this 12-acre parcel 25 years ago. That pond and its surrounding swamp have been our little escape from the world’s hubbub. It has felt like our own special ecosystem that has welcomed various birds and wildlife and given us a peaceful reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. The kids have all grown and have homes of their own now, but the memories remain. And now it’s time for me to go as my youngest has returned with the announcement, “The pond’s ready to skate on, Ma.” Let me grab my skates and head on down!

About The Author: Kathy is a retired physical therapist. She enjoys many outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, camping, birdwatching, and cross-country skiing with her husband and friends. She and her husband are beginning the grandparent stage of their lives with two beautiful granddaughters.

Guest Column

Win $200 for stories published!

Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit community to submit.

Where In Michigan Is This?

Identify the correct location of the photo to the left by May 24 and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 electric bill credit. Enter your guess at

March 2023 Winner!

Our Mystery Photo winner is Brian Soop, a Cherryland Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as the Belle Isle Conservatory in Detroit. Winners are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/ August, September, and November/December.

MI CO-OP Guest Column


•Attaches to your home’s existing heating system, it does not replace it.

•Delivers 90% on average of your home’s heating needs and 100% of your home’s cooling needs.

• If you have a well and are heating with propane, fuel oil, electric or wood, your current heating and cooling cost is likely greater than it would be to fully finance and heat & cool with a Well-Connect.

•Installs in one day, any time of year. No drilling or excavation is required.



Geother mal Made Affordable
Financing, 30% tax credit, and rebates up to $2,000 available. SCAN HERE TO SCHEDULE A PHONE CALL 1-833-GEOWELL ENJOY YEAR-ROUND COMFORT HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK?




Michigan electric cooperatives believe there should be “No Barriers” for veterans with disabilities. That’s the name and idea behind CoBank’s No Barriers initiative. Michigan cooperatives are looking for qualified veterans* from our local community to participate.

No Barriers is a five-day, all-expenses-paid expedition in Colorado, designed to help veterans with disabilities transform their lives through curriculum-based experiences in challenging environments (climbing, rafting, and hiking).

If you are a disabled veteran, or you know of a disabled veteran in our community who would like to participate in the No Barriers program, please complete the form on our website: *Must /PIEGCooperative
have VA disability rating to be eligible.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.