You know a Michigan winter is in full swing when 35 degrees sounds like a heat wave. While it’s important to take safety precautions for your home and business during the single digits, it’s also a great time to focus on improving your fuel economy.
How Does a Michigan Winter Affect Your Fuel Economy?
You can improve your fuel economy by driving Plug-in Electric Vehicles or hybrids, but even they can be affected by cold weather.
Due to cold weather:
- It takes longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature
- Heated seats, window defrosters and heater fans use extra power
- Air is more dense which decreases pressure in your tires and increases rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag
- Battery performance weakens which affects the regenerative breaking system on hybrids
Severe Winter Weather Drops Your MPG
If you have to commute in severe winter weather, your miles-per-gallon can drop significantly because:
- Using four-wheel drive increases fuel use
- Icy, snow-covered roads make it difficult for your tires to effectively grip, which wastes energy
- Speeds below 30 to 40 mph on slick roads further reduces fuel economy
7 Tips to Improve Your Fuel Economy
Enhance your fuel economy this season with these tips and tricks:
- Don’t use seat warmers or defrosters excessively
- Use the oil type recommended by your manufacturer for driving in cold weather
- Combine trips to drive less often with a cold engine
- If you drive a PEV or hybrid, preheat the cabin while plugged into the charger to increase range
- Save energy and increase range for your PEV or hybrid by using the seat warmers instead of the cabin heater
- Minimize idling your car to warm it up and reduce pollution. Vehicle manufacturers usually recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds.
- Park your car in a warm spot like a garage to increase temperature of vehicle
Click for more information on plug-in electric vehicles
How do you improve your fuel economy during the winter months? Comment below.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
“We realize that schools have tight budgets,” said Tara Ragauss, Education Programs Manager. “We felt it was important to provide classrooms with up-to-date technology that will benefit the learning experience of students.”
Second through sixth grade teachers, in schools served by Consumers Energy, will automatically be entered in the drawing by signing up for the new EmPOWERed Kids program if their presentation took place before December 31, 2014.
The free interactive program is endorsed by the Michigan Department of Education and is designed to educate students about energy topics such as:
- The dangerous consequences of touching electric power lines or acting carelessly with electrical appliances.
- Learning the three Rs: recognize, react and report natural gas leaks.
- The role of utility flags and why safe digging is important.
Since launching in September we’ve done 55 EmPOWERed Kids presentations reaching about 2,500 students. In total, we have reached more than 40,000 students this school year through our educational programs.
An additional six technology grant recipients will be selected at random on May 20, 2015. Teachers who have an EmPOWERed Kids presentation in their second through sixth grade classroom between January 2015 and May 15, 2015 will also be automatically entered into that drawing.
ConsumersEnergy.com/teachers also has lessons plans, educational games and other resources for teachers.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY: A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Current Michigan teachers, who are legal residents of Michigan, who are Consumers Energy customers as of 9/1/14 and at least 18 years old are eligible. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends 5/15/15. For Official Rules, alternate method of energy, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, contact email@example.com. Sponsor: Consumers Energy Company.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
As we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015, Consumers Energy is proud to share a number of accomplishments from the past year.
We worked hard to serve our customers and improve our communities. In 2014, Consumers Energy:
- Created a severe weather assistance team that made more than 125,000 calls to help customers manage their bills during the Polar Vortex
- Launched the Slow Down and Go Around campaign to ensure a safe work environment for our crews
- Accelerated the plan to bring smart meters to homes and businesses two years early
- Raised more than $300,000 to help customers with their heating bills by participating in Walks for Warmth
- Gave $9 million in contributions to Michigan nonprofit organizations
- Recycled 100,000 refrigerators
- Increased in-state spending to $150 million to help grow Michigan’s economy
- Built a 24-mile long pipeline to transport affordable and reliable natural gas to customers
- Implemented a nationally recognized Incident Command System to improve emergency response
- Opened new LEED Certified Service Centers to better assist customers
- Completed and opened the Cross Winds Energy Park to meet the 10 percent renewable energy goal one year ahead of schedule
Thank you to all Consumers Energy employees, retirees and volunteers, and to our residential and business customers, for helping make 2014 such a successful year.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Inspecting and maintaining equipment at our Essexville plant, Karn Weadock, was never an easy task. Gaining access for repairs was often too expensive or unsafe—until now. The power plant received its first drone in July to help perform inspections of boilers and other equipment.
Q. Why does Consumers Energy need a drone and who controls it?
A. The drone is a quadcopter (helicopter with four propellers) and is used by our Consumers Energy’s Boiler System Owners to:
- Enhance equipment reliability
- Spend less money on inspections
- Save customers money
Q. Where is the drone used?
A. The drone is currently used within the walls of Karn Weadock. Any use outside is against the law and forbidden. The quadcopter works in 4 simple steps:
- It travels by remote control and connects to the drone’s onboard computer.
- The onboard computer makes it easier to move the drone up/down, forward/backward, left/right and rotate left/right.
- It uses a Wi-Fi signal to send back first person video of our equipment from the onboard camera.
- The camera is connected to a smartphone or tablet to receive the first person video of our equipment. It also helps in movement control.
Q. How does the drone save customers money?
A. Spotting tube leaks and repairing general material conditions allow Consumers Energy to provide power straight to customers, instead of buying it at high prices off the market.
Surprising Uses for Drones
Drones are used across the country for a variety of positive reasons. According to National Geographic, drones currently play large roles in:
- Hurricane Hunting
- 3-D Mapping landscapes
- Protecting wildlife
- Searching and saving missing or injured people
Why celebrate America Recycles Day? That’s easy—to encourage more people to join the movement. Keeping America beautiful takes teamwork and dedication. Check out all the social, environmental and economic benefits of the recycling movement and industry:
- Conserves natural resources
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- Saves energy
- Prevents pollution
- Reduces the need for new landfills
- Lowers costs to businesses
- Employs more than 1 million people
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Recycling is an important initiative at Consumers Energy. We stress the importance to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as part of our commitment to the environment. Throughout Michigan, we’ve placed special collection bins at our corporate offices, service centers and plants and have recycled:
- 523,484 gallons of antifreeze
- 5,938,603 gallons of used oil
- 267,780 gallons of fuel
- 16,266 gallons of paint
- 608,694 pounds of batteries
- 26,599 pounds of mercury equipment
- 55,690 tons of metals
- 67,822 yards of corrugated cardboard
- 143,824 yards of paper
- 253,363 tons of wood and wood products
- All units – toner cartridges
- 611,097 pounds of lamps
- 190,948 pounds of electronics
- 111,266 pounds of lighting ballasts
- 4,985 tons of electrical equipment
Consumers Energy also buys reusable, recycled and other environmentally products like:
- Recycled paper
- Cardboard products
- Low-mercury fluorescent lamps
These achievements have helped conserve about 700,000 cubic yards of municipal landfill space.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Although we’re rounding out the end of Careers in Energy Week, Consumers Energy wants to keep public awareness about energy-related jobs alive well after the statewide celebration. We plan to continue recruiting top Michigan talent for rewarding careers in energy.
Consumers Energy is pleased to work with DTE Energy and the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium during this celebration to raise awareness for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
To hear about job openings, follow Consumers Energy on LinkedIn!
A Day in the Life of a Consumers Energy Employee
From lineworkers to power plant operators, customer service representatives to accountants and technicians to engineers, there are a variety of careers Consumers Energy offers throughout the state of Michigan. Check out a few behind-the-scenes videos from Consumers Energy employees:
1. System Controller
2. Senior Project Manager
3. Lineworker Trainer
4. Electric Field Leader
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“Careers in Energy Week” isn’t just a time to create awareness for Michigan’s energy sector– it’s an opportunity to recruit Michigan students. From lineworkers to power plant operators, customer service representatives to accountants and technicians to engineers, there are a variety of careers Consumers Energy offers throughout the state of Michigan.
Michigan Students Wanted
Our focus is to increase worker skills and enhance training programs to continue the growth of Michigan’s energy sector. Check out careers in energy by the numbers:
- Michigan’s energy workforce currently makes up 84,000 jobs
- Over the next seven years, 50 percent of utility workers will be eligible for retirement
- Jobs are expected to increase by 5.6 percent by 2018
- Median salaries in the energy industry range from $51,572 to $88,027 with an associate degree and industry credentials
Consumers Energy offers a variety of programs for students to begin their career in energy. From elementary school to college graduates, we’re investing in Michigan’s future with a strategic recruiting initiative.
Consumers Energy Summer Internship Program
We offer paid summer internships in various departments and Michigan locations from May to the end of August. Consumers Energy interns have real-world responsibilities, assignments and projects and even participate in our Summer Intern Challenge. To qualify, you should:
- Be enrolled in a 4-year college program
- 3.0 GPA or better
- Study programs like engineering, information systems and technology, accounting/finance or business
- Be willing to learn
- Have effective verbal and written communications skills
- Demonstrate excellent leadership ability
- Be able to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Have the ability to work 40-hours per week
Meet Consumers Energy representatives at career fairs this fall! Below is our On Campus Schedule:Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
In recognition of “Careers in Energy Week” in Michigan, we’re helping increase public awareness of energy-focused options in the workforce. As Michigan’s energy sector transforms to develop cleaner technology with energy efficient methods, it’s essential to invest time into enhancing workers’ skills. The sustainability of Michigan’s energy industry depends on it.
We’re pleased to work with DTE Energy and the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium to support and raise awareness for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. The energy sector in Michigan:
- Employs 84,000 people and creates more than 1,200 new opportunities a year
- Consumers Energy and DTE Energy combine to provide 500 co-op and internship opportunities every year
Careers in Energy: Pathways
The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) launched Get Into Energy to build awareness among students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors about the many career options in the energy industry. Check out these Career Pathways Roadmaps to learn more about different types of careers in energy:
October is also STEM careers month! Check out their full list of events!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
It’s official– Consumers Energy is ranked among the top energy providers in the world for sustainable environmental, social and economic practices! According to Sustainalytics, a leading global research firm that measures sustainable business practices for investors, we ranked number 14 out of 226 worldwide.
Protecting Michigan’s People and Natural Resources
Our Promise is to care for the Michigan communities we serve. Consumers Energy is committed to sustainability by:
- Improving Air and Water Quality
Michigan’s air is the cleanest it has been in a generation, thanks in part to reduced emissions from the company’s power plants. We will continue to reduce carbon emissions by more than 20 percent and mercury by 80 percent. Consumers Energy also plans to reduce its water intensity by 20 percent by 2020.
- Developing Renewable Energy
Consumers Energy will open its second wind farm, Cross Winds® Energy Park, this fall. The addition should help us generate 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources a year ahead of schedule. The company has more than 200 contracts with Michigan homes and businesses that provide solar energy. Consumers Energy also started an anaerobic digester program with Michigan farms this year.
- Caring for Communities
Employees, retirees, the company and foundation gave more than $8 million to Michigan nonprofits last year. Employees led a record Walk for Warmth campaign this spring and donated 50,000 hours of community service last year to local charities and non-profits. The company is also supporting various United Way organizations this fall.
Consumers Energy holds sustainability efforts near and dear. We want to leave Michigan a better place than we found it, for generations to come.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
Tis the season for freshly sharpened pencils and brand new folders. That’s right—September is back-to-school month in Michigan. As parents are preparing lunches and students are filling school buses, Consumers Energy launches its new smartphone app and classroom program called EmPOWERed Kids. The new technology provides Michigan students, teachers and parents with an engaging way to learn about energy.
EmPOWERed Kids Across Michigan
Every year, Consumers Energy teams up with Michigan schools to deliver important lessons about electricity and natural gas, renewable energy and safety. Not only are we committed to energy lessons in the classroom with the EmPOWERed Kids program, but parents may also download the free app at home for continued learning.
The EmPOWERed Kids app is available for most smartphone devices and tablets including iPads. Search “EmPOWERed Kids” in the App or Play Store to download now. Our engaging app teaches kids about:
- How electricity is made from coal, wind, water and even cow manure
- How to recognize danger signs involving electricity and natural gas
- What natural gas smells like and what to do to stay safe
For more information, teachers and parents can readRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off )
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