MEUW Weekly :: August 18, 2020

Alliant Energy requesting materials to aid Iowa cleanup: Hurricane-force winds caused more than half-million Iowa residents to lose power on Monday, Aug. 10, and Alliant Energy is in urgent need of materials to get the lights back on. The full list of materials needed is available in an Excel spreadsheet here. If your utility can help, please call Alliant Energy’s Tony Porch at (319) 431-5800 or Lacey Hogan at (618) 444-5729.

Board of Directors’ Meeting: MEUW’s Board will meet via Zoom conference on Friday, Aug. 21, at 8:30 a.m. As a membership organization, the Board Meeting is open for any member utility to attend, however, only Board members (or their alternates) will be able to vote on any items brought for action. The agenda and instructions to join the virtual meeting are available here.

WPUI offering virtual seminar that may be of interest to MEUW members:  The mission of the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute (WPUI) is to advance understanding and discussion of relevant utility industry topics and emerging trends in the electric, natural gas, and water industries. Consistent with that mission, WPUI will hold a web conference on the subject of “Emerging Technologies” on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The program will address how emerging technologies are reaching consumers and the partnerships that are needed to bring innovative technologies to market. Speakers will also discuss what utilities and regulators need to consider to ensure emerging technologies can be implemented cost-effectively and sustainably. The program includes a line-up of local, state and national presenters from across the industry.

The online-only session runs from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For registration information and to learn more, visit WPUI’s Website. The “early bird” registration discount ends on Wednesday, Aug. 26. MEUW is a long-time supporter of WPUI and its programming.

Registration is now open for Accounting and Customer Service Seminar: MEUW is hosting its annual gathering for municipal accounting and customer service personnel on Tuesday, Sept. 22. This year’s seminar will be held virtually to ensure the safety of attendees. As always, the program includes a presentation and Q-&-A with staff at the Public Service Commission. There will also be a roundtable discussion about the coronavirus response, a review of meter-to-cash processes, and other presentations. The full agenda and registration details are available here.

The Executive Committee of MEUW’s Board of Directors held its regular every-other-month meeting via a Zoom conference on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Notes from the discussions are here (MEUW member login is required to access the download).

Next installment of “Electric Wire” podcast now online: The Customers First! Coalition (CFC) has launched another episode of its podcast series to help advance dialogue and education about energy issues across the state. The “Electric Wire” first launched in mid-February and features interviews with guests from the Wisconsin energy and utility industry discussing the topics like solar, electric vehicles, energy storage, microgrids, wind and smart buildings.

The latest episode — released on Friday, Aug. 14, to coincide with American Wind Week — features an interview with Scott Coenen of the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum to highlight the organization’s mission and their view on the status of wind in Wisconsin. CFC Executive Director Kristin Gilkes also visits with representatives of Dairyland Power Cooperative to discuss how they are investing in wind energy on behalf of co-op customers. Dairyland’s long-time Vice President Brian Rude, who is retiring later this month, and its new Government Relations Manager, Jennifer Shilling, are guests.

To access the podcast episodes, search for The Electric Wire wherever you subscribe to podcasts, or listen at CFC’s YouTube channel. You can follow @theelectricwire on Twitter to get notifications of new episodes, pictures and other information about the podcast series.

MEUW is a founding member of CFC, which was first organized in 1995 to advocate on behalf of Wisconsin consumers in the debate over electric-utility restructuring.

Member Engagement Survey kicks off next month: Let your voice be heard and tell us how we’re doing! MEUW plans to conduct another member survey to gather feedback about the services and future direction of the association. This year’s survey period is Sept. 15 to Oct. 16.

The survey link will be sent directly to the key contact on file from each of our member utilities. A separate link will be shared in MEUW Weekly to collect feedback from others. The survey is an important part of the association’s planning efforts, and the input provided is used to shift priorities and assess progress toward achievement of strategic goals. The survey was last conducted in February 2019 and garnered a response rate just under 50%.

Virtual seminar on Work Order and Asset Management Accounting to be held this fall: MEUW is a offering a three-part, online-only seminar to help member utilities build a stronger and more comprehensive understanding of the components and systems used to accurately account for and report utility plant construction. Participants will gain an understanding of the FERC chart of accounts, the use of construction units in the work order process, and how to develop overhead allocation rates and record the full costs of construction. There will also be a discussion of inventory management issues, the work order closing process, unitizing construction costs and retirement accounting.

A similar day-long training session was offered in November 2014. Several members had requested the training be offered again. Jodi Dobson, CPA, a partner in the Energy and Utilities Group at Baker Tilly, will lead the training and offer insights to help members standardize processes to develop or improve utilities’ work order asset management accounting and job costing systems.

Due to the pandemic, the training will be conducted in three two-hour Zoom sessions — on Oct. 20, Oct. 27, and Nov. 3. The training will be recorded and available for playback if a paid registrant misses any portion. Each session runs from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. The registration fee covers one person (individuals receive unique log-in credentials that cannot be shared). Three or more employees from the same municipality/utility are eligible for discounted group pricing (savings of $75 per person). Full details and registration information is available here.