APPA files appeal on FCC ruling of pole attachment ruling: On Nov. 15, the American Public Power Association (APPA) filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declaratory ruling and order that the FCC said could help to remove regulatory barriers that inhibit the deployment of infrastructure necessary for 5G and other advanced wireless services.
Among other things, APPA argues that the FCC’s actions exceed its statutory authority and pose significant risks to safe, secure and reliable electric utility operations.
At issue is a declaratory ruling and order adopted on September 26 and released on September 27 that may result in FCC pole attachment oversight and regulation of public power utilities, despite the explicit exemption for public power in Section 224 of the Communications Act.
Under the ruling and order, the FCC could preempt state and local laws or requirements governing access to public rights-of-way (ROW) and publicly owned infrastructure within the ROW, including rates, terms or conditions of pole attachment agreements, using Section 253 (related to ROW) and Section 332 (related to wireless services) of the Communications Act.
MEUW’s legal counsel, Anita Gallucci, has put together a paper to help explain what MEUW members should know about the Order. The informational paper is available on MEUW’s Website. We will continue to provide updates as warranted.
Keep an eye out for malicious spoofing activity: APPA has received reports from the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) indicating that there has been a recent uptick in malicious email spoofing attacks in the electric utility sector.
Specifically, customers across the country have received fabricated emails with holiday greetings carrying malware that appear to be coming from electric utility trade association personnel, including APPA.
While MEUW has not received any reports of fake messages delivered to its member utilities, always be vigilant and exercise extreme caution before clicking on links or opening attachments. When in doubt, call the sender to verify the message.
Please report any suspicious activity to the E-ISAC at https://www.eisac.com. Also please alert MEUW by email at info@MEUW.org.
We’d like your feedback about MEUW’s District Dinners: District Dinners have been a long-standing tradition at MEUW. In the past two months, we’ve held them in six communities. These gatherings provided an excellent forum to update members about legislative and regulatory priorities and talk about what’s new at MEUW. Executive Director Tim Heinrich also appreciated hearing about what is happening with MEUW members, and attendees enjoyed networking with colleagues from around the state.
Those who attended this year’s District Dinner were asked to provide feedback about the gatherings. And we also want to hear from those who didn’t or were unable to attend one of the District Dinners. Please complete this short survey to share your thoughts about MEUW gatherings. The survey will remain open until Dec. 21. If you have any questions on the survey, please contact communications@MEUW.org.
Still a few days to sign up for NESC Seminar: Registration for the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) Seminar on Dec. 4-5 at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore will close on Nov. 30. If you’d like to attend, please register as soon as possible.
Topics for this two-day conference include overhead and underground settings, substation clearance requirements, communication facilities clearance requirements, cable markings, and safety signs that conform with the National Electrical Safety Code and Wisconsin PSC 114 Code.
Randy Larson, MEUW Electric Utility Safety and Training Coordinator, and Jim Biesterveld, a Wisconsin State Master Electrician with more than 25 years of experience in teaching Electrical Code classes, will be the lead instructors for this seminar.
The registration fee for is $175. Please click here for more information or to register.
Join us for the Customers First! Annual Meeting: The Customers First! Coalition will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Concourse Hotel in Madison. MEUW was one of the founding members of Customers First! — an alliance of municipal electric utilities, consumer organizations, rural electric cooperatives, wholesale electric suppliers, an investor-owned utility, renewable energy advocates and utility workers.
Public Service Commissioner Rich Zipperer is scheduled to speak at the meeting. Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) and Rep. Sargent (D-Madison) are also planning to participate.
All MEUW members are welcome to attend. If you’re interested, please click here to register.
Two Rivers Water and Light has been having difficulty working with telcoms (Frontier, in particular) to get pole contacts moved or removed and to have poles replaced or removed. In many cases, the utility’s requests have taken a year. With telcom buyouts and staffing shortages, they are finding it impossible to contact the appropriate folks and to find a mailbox that isn’t completely full! Two Rivers Water and Light would like to know if any other utilities experienced this delay and, if so, what steps were taken to get results. If you have any helpful information to share, please contact Ken Kozak, Electric Utility Director, at email@example.com.
Tim Putz, Superintendent at Arcadia Electric Utility, would like to know if any member utilities have an inspection document for gang operated air break switches (GOABs). If you can help, please contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a questions you’d like shared with other member utilities, please send your request to email@example.com.
Access the latest MEUW Calendar of Events, which now includes the dates for the Spring Customer Service Roundtables.