Two MEUW members honored as “Reliable Public Power Providers”: Kaukauna Utilities (KU) and Menasha Utilities (MU) have earned the distinguished RP3 designation from the American Public Power Association (APPA) for providing reliable and safe electric service to their community.
The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Utilities that earn the designation have demonstrated a commitment to implementing leading practices in utility operations.
KU and MU join more than 275 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation. Eleven other Wisconsin-based utilities hold current RP3 designations, including: Cedarburg Light and Water (2019-2022), Evansville Water and Light (2018-2021), Manitowoc Public Utilities (2018-2021), Marshfield Utilities (2019-2022), Oconomowoc Utilities (2018-2021), Plymouth Utilities (2019-2022), City Utilities of Richland Center (2018-2021), River Falls Municipal Utilities (2018-2021), Sun Prairie Utilities (2018-2021), Two Rivers Water and Light (2018-2021), and Wisconsin Rapids Water Works and Lighting Commission (2018-2021).
COVID-19 relief bill offers option for municipal utilities: On Wednesday, April 15, Governor Tony Evers signed into law Assembly Bill 1038 (now Act 185), the bipartisan legislative package responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note for MEUW members, Act 185 authorizes the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) to offer loans from the common school fund and other school trust funds to enable municipal utilities to maintain liquidity during the current public health emergency (and for up to 60 days after the expiration). As we all know, rules suspended during the public health emergency allow utility customers to temporarily suspend payments without losing service. The intent is to allow BCPL to extend loans to municipal utilities so that they may continue to meet obligations in the event of a temporary loss of revenues.
MEUW Annual Business Meeting to be held “virtually” in May: Despite the rescheduling of MEUW’s Annual Conference to August, in accordance with the association’s Bylaws, the Annual Business Meeting will take place on Friday, May 15, at 8:30 a.m. The meeting will be conducted via videoconference. Additional details will be provided as the date nears. All MEUW members are welcome to attend the meeting.
Deadline extended for MEUW Honors and Awards nominations: Annually, the association proudly recognizes individual contributions and achievements toward advancing public power by presenting awards at the Annual Conference. In light of this year’s conference being postponed to August, MEUW is reopening the period to accept additional nominations. The new deadline is Monday, June 1. Full details are available at MEUW.org/awards.
Next Management Training session set for June 3: MEUW’s long-standing Management Training Program is currently scheduled to make a return with a program focused on managing personnel matters. The one-day session will be led by Attorney Steve Zach, a partner in the Boardman & Clark law firm in Madison. Among the topics to be covered are hiring and selection, discipline and discrimination and harassment. The training (Session E in the series) is set for Wednesday, June 3, at the Hotel Marshfield. Complete details about the subject matter and a biography of the instructor are available on MEUW.org.
MEUW Board change: MEUW Board President John Murphy has appointed Todd Tessmann, Manager of Hustisford Utilities, to serve as Director for District 7 on MEUW’s Board of Directors, until the association’s Annual Meeting in May 2021. District 7 includes Columbus, Hustisford, Juneau, Pardeeville, Plymouth, Princeton, Sheboygan Falls, and Waupun. He had been the Alternate Director and succeeds Jared Ootsterhouse, who has left his position at Waupun Utilities. The appointment is subject to approval by the full Board.
Online safety worksheets enable workers to keep up with training while social distancing: In an effort to adapt to ongoing social-distancing measures, MEUW has developed a series of safety-related training worksheets designed to help lineworkers review critical concepts. The optional worksheets — on topics ranging from hold-carding to work zone safety — are available for download from MEUW’s Website. Upon completion, workers are asked to turn in the worksheet by email to receive feedback and credit (instructions are provided on each of the worksheets).
Whenever possible, MEUW’s trainers are offering training via videoconference or in small groups. The online worksheets are intended for self-study and to supplement on-the-job training until regular in-person, onsite sessions can be reinstated. Additional worksheets are currently being developed and will be added in the near future. Workers are encouraged to limit themselves to completing only one worksheet per sitting to support more focused learning.
New dates selected for workshops: MEUW has now rescheduled three workshops that were postponed because of the COVID-19 public health emergency. In selecting new dates, we attempted to balance the need for training and the fluid nature of the “Safer at Home” orders with the advance planning necessary to secure facilities and presenters and to attract prospective attendees. Please make note of the new dates and watch for updated registration information and revised agendas to be provided soon.
- 2020 Watt Hour Metering Workshop rescheduled to Aug. 3-6 at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in Green Bay. Schedule includes an optional pre-workshop refresher session on Monday, Aug. 3, and the three-day workshop on Aug. 4, 5 and 6.
- Facility Locating Workshop rescheduled to Aug. 11 in Eau Claire.
- Underground Distribution School rescheduled to Aug. 18-19 at NWTC in Green Bay.
Within the next few weeks, those who had registered for the original sessions can expect to be contacted directly with details to rollover their registration, substitute an attendee, apply credit to future MEUW training, or receive a refund.