Tom Sobeck, President & CEO
What do these three years all have in common? Each represents a significant milestone for PIE&G and the citizens of northeast Michigan.
In 1937, northeast Michigan was still literally in the dark. With the help of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, local farmers banded together to create the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to bring electricity to the area. The REA became known as Presque Isle Electric Cooperative as electric service was extended to more people. This milestone was achieved by a group of individuals that recognized the need for essential service in our region and possessed the courage to take on the task. These were not influential business people or wealthy venture capitalists looking for a return on their investment. They were residents with the foresight and fortitude to take the necessary steps to provide what they saw as an essential service.
In 1994, our region still had limited heating options of wood, heating oil, or propane. The board of directors of the newly renamed Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op recognized the opportunity to meet residents’ needs through its multi-year commitment to providing natural gas service to our communities. Over the past 26 years, nearly 13,000 homes and businesses have come to enjoy the benefits of clean, reliable natural gas service. Each year, the co-op continues to look for ways to benefit more of its members.
This year, your board of directors has recognized another opportunity to provide an essential service that many members lack: access to reliable, high-speed internet. The board approved the formation of a Fiber-To-The-Home division and PIE&G’s participation in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) through an auction conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last November. PIE&G was awarded more than $11 million over the next 10 years to build and operate a fiber network to bring high-speed internet access to members and northeast lower Michigan. The pandemic has demonstrated the great need for digital access, from remote learning and at-home working to telemedicine and maintaining relationships. Once more, your board of directors has shown its courage and resolve by stepping up to serve where others motivated by profit have chosen not to invest.
As always, our mission is to provide vital services to sustain and improve the quality of life for our members using the cooperative business model. The fiber project furthers that mission, and we’re excited to begin steps to our next significant milestone. Our board’s focus is always reliable service at an affordable rate.
We ask for your patience as we begin to design, develop and implement this project. The process will take place over the next several years, and our goal is to provide access to the entire membership. We realize you have many questions that we cannot answer today. We plan to make this project successful, and we will do our best to get new information to you as quickly as possible.
Additional information will be provided to keep you updated on this exciting and life-changing project as it develops. Look for information in our Country Lines publications, online at pieg.com and on our Facebook page.
Please note: Enrollment is not available yet. Make sure you get the latest news by keeping your mailing address and email address current.