Mutual Aid Assistance: It’s Hurricane Season and that means requests for mutual aid assistance from affected utilities are not far off. Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the coast of North Carolina in the coming days and Hurricanes Helene and Isaac are churning in the Atlantic. Wisconsin municipal utilities willing and able to release crews are asked to contact Lonnie Pichler (Kaukauna), chair of MEUW’s Safety and Education Committee. Lonnie is coordinating MEUW’s response with the American Public Power Association, and he plans to accompany the crews if they are called on. Lonnie can be reached directly at (920) 475-4736 or by email.
Training Schedule Now Available: The schedule for Electric Utility Safety and Training sessions (formerly JT&S) for the month of September has been posted to MEUW’s Website. The schedules for the remainder of 2018 are nearly complete and will be posted soon.
Save the Date: MEUW will host a National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) Seminar on Dec. 4-5, 2018, at South West Technical College in Fennimore. All utility line workers, staking technicians, line designers, supervisors, foremen, utility administrators and superintendents from our member utilities are invited to attend.
The two-day conference will be packed with information on both National and Wisconsin PSC 114 code requirements. MEUW Electric Utility Safety and Training Coordinator Randy Larson will teach the first and part of the second day of sessions using both classroom instruction, as well as hands-on examples.
Specific topics will include overhead and underground settings and substation clearance requirements. Clearance requirements for communication facilities will also be covered.
On the second day of this conference, Jim Jablonski, regional manager at Laser Technology, will provide information on True Pulse laser technology, which can be used to assist in determining angles and distance in the field using up-to-date technology.
Attendees must purchase and bring a 2017 National Electric Safety Code book or handbook for reference and notes. A copy of the Wisconsin Administrative Code PSC 114 will be furnished. A block of rooms has been reserved at a discounted rate for participants at the AmericInn in Boscobel.
More seminar information as well as registration information will be available on MEUW’s website soon. If the session is well received, we will plan to hold it again in 2019 in a different part of the state.
FCC Expected to Rule on Pole Attachment Regulation: At its Sept. 26 open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to take action on small cell wireless infrastructure. The FCC released a draft Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order on Sept. 5, which includes rules that the FCC believes create “a national strategy to promote the timely buildout of new infrastructure across the country by eliminating regulatory impediments.”
If approved, the Order will conclude that the FCC has authority to regulate certain state and local siting actions. Once approved, the legal challenge process will begin, and the issue is ultimately expected to wind up in the courts.
The draft Order will affect public power utilities’ ability to regulate pole attachments while also allowing wireless providers the latitude to cherry-pick the most marketable areas for infrastructure, leaving rural and less-profitable places behind.
The FCC’s action comes at the same time federal legislation related to small cell infrastructure deployment is under consideration. As currently drafted, S. 3157 provides authority for the FCC to regulate pole attachments.
While the legislative activity and the regulatory activity are clearly distinct from one another, it is important that public power work in both arenas to push back on this threat. Earlier this summer, MEUW asked members to write letters to Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to educate them on issues with proposed legislation. Last week, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities forwarded a letter template to enable members to provide comments directly to the FCC. We at MEUW will continue to monitor the issue and provide updates as necessary. If you have not yet voiced your opinion on this issue, you are encouraged to do so.
MEUW Golf Outing in Marshfield next week: The long-range forecast says weather in Marshfield will be partly sunny and in the 60s on Wednesday, Sept. 19 — a great day for golf! There’s still time to register for MEUW’s outing at the River’s Edge Golf Course. The cost is just $25 and includes a box lunch. Shot-gun start at 11 a.m. For more information and to register, visit meuw.org/golf. Registrations will be accepted through Monday, Sept. 17.
Accounting and Customer Service Seminar set for Sept. 25: MEUW’s annual gathering to update utility personnel on regulatory and legislative issues that affect their utilities and provide networking opportunities to share leading practices will be held Tuesday, Sept. 25 in Wisconsin Dells. This year’s program includes sessions on relevant topics from presenters with Baker Tilly, Boardman & Clark, Focus on Energy and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, among others. For the agenda and information on the presenters, click here.
MEUW Staffing News: Mallory Conradt has joined MEUW as Member Services Specialist. A native of Wisconsin Dells, Mallory is an experienced event planner, sales manager and marketer with customer service and leadership experience in the hospitality and property-management fields. Most recently she worked as Leasing and Marketing Manager for a Madison-based student-housing apartment complex. In her role with MEUW she will be responsible for providing service to address members’ inquiries, coordinating MEUW programs and events and supporting the day-to-day operations of the association. Mallory reports directly to Executive Director Tim Heinrich. She can be reached at (608) 478-2528 or by email at email@example.com.
Upcoming Industry Education Sessions: The Wisconsin Public Utility Institute (WPUI) is holding two educational opportunities MEUW members might be interested in attending.
- “Disruption and Innovation in the Electric Industry” is a half-day session to explore how “disruptors” will impact the electric industry and how some utilities are framing, analyzing and responding to potential disruption impacts – Tuesday, Sept. 18
- “Energy Utility Basics” is an intensive course on the fundamental concepts critical to being conversant in today’s energy industry. The week-long course provides a comprehensive education on the history of the electric and natural gas industries and insights into the regulatory decision-making process – Oct. 8 to 12
To learn more, visit wpui.wisc.edu/.
The September edition of Live Lines is available here.