December 25, 2019 @ 12:00am

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Longtime Partnership Between Madison Gas and Electric and KWW/CF Has Been Critical to Driving Success

Local Madison Utility, its generous customers and shareholders work with KWW/CF to keep the heat and power on for those most in need

Nearly 25 years ago, Tim Bruer realized a need that was being unmet statewide, and worked to create a community organization to combat it. He just needed support to get it off the ground.

Through his many connections with the area’s utility companies through Energy Services, Inc. (ESI), Bruer formed partnerships to aid some of those most vulnerable during Wisconsin’s bitter-cold winters.

Kathy DeMets, Madison Gas and Electric Company Senior Director of Customer Service and longtime KWW/CF Campaign Committee member shown here at the registration table at this year’s golf outing.

The Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund (KWW/CF)” started in 1996 as a charitable arm of ESI, targeting those who are aging, military veterans, low-income and at-risk individuals, and more. Since its foundation, the organization has utilized unprecedented support from donors to more than 100,000 Wisconsin households keep their heat on.

The entire time, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) has been at its side.

“MGE has probably done more for the community - in particular for struggling low-income or high-risk customers - than any utility in the country,” Bruer,ESI Executive Director and KWW/CF Cheif Spokesperson said. “Their commitment to making sure nobody is placed in a life-threatening situation, or having to make the difficult choice between eating and heating your house has been incredible.”

It’s a partnership that got a jumpstart because of a mutual mission to support those in need throughout the community. Bruer estimated that each year, in addition to MGE’s and the MGE Foundation’s contributions, MGE customers donate well over $100,000 to the KWW/CF.

“We are your community energy company,” MGE Chairman, CEO and President Jeff Keebler said. “We believe passionately in our community. We provide energy needs, but we also believe we have a broader corporate objective to make sure our community is a good place to be for all people, all the members of our community.”

As one of its founding supporters, MGE has partnered with the KWW/CF on many events, fundraisers, and more. The company also provides information on how people can contribute and receive assistance from KWW/CF.

“The Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund does a great job of looking out for the members of our community who are in need of support,” Keebler said. “There would be a lot of people in more challenging positions if it weren’t for the organization.

“We’re proud to be a part of it, and we are proud to be longtime supporters. I cannot imagine a day where we’re not supporters of it, because it’s just a great program for our community.”

Bruer said that MGE’s drive to help those in need doesn’t end by supporting the KWW/CF. The company also works on a case-by-case basis to provide budget plans and other financial considerations to households in the Madison area struggling to afford their bills.

“(MGE) personally exhausts every avenue possible to build on that survival safety net that they were instrumental in creating decades ago,” Bruer said. “There is probably no utility in the country, big or small, that per capita has more involvement and generosity of their customers and their stockholders than MGE.”

In 2013, when Bruer came calling again with another realization, MGE was more than willing to jump on board. By leveraging donations and grants, Heat for Heroes has since helped close to 20,000 of America’s heroes keep their heat and power on. Not only that, but the nonprofit organization helps veterans in crisis obtain resources to get back to a sustainable lifestyle.

“It’s very important to support members of our military who need assistance,” Keebler said. “They have given a lot to us as a country, and we need to give back to them as much as we can. Through that partnership, we’ve been able to support veterans in need.”

Without question, through the leadership of Gary Wolter, being carried on by Jeff Keebler along with committed stockholders, customers, and especially employees, thousands of MGE customers would be making the hard choice between keeping their heat and power on and neglecting their other basic survival needs.

Because of MGE’s tireless support, KWW/CF has also been able to mobilize other class A utilities and energy related interests including We Energies, WPS, Alliant Energy, Excel Energy, KS Energy Services and ATC to actively support KWW/CF, securing the future of the fund throughout Wisconsin for generations to come.


MG&E sponsor

ABOVE: Madison Gas and Electric and KS Energy Services were the two Presenting Sponsors at the 18th Annual Charity Golf Classic and Silent Auction.

BELOW: Madison Gas and Electric’s support has also helped secure active participation from other area energy-related industry leaders such as ATC.

MGE sponsor


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