Will utility workers have priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? With the first coronavirus vaccines now being administered to healthcare workers and the most vulnerable in our communities, there ongoing discussions about when the vaccine will be distributed to others. It will be up to officials at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (working with the Centers for Disease Control) to determine who gets priority for the vaccine. American Public Power Association (APPA) and other electric-industry trade organizations have been advocating to include mission-essential energy workers in one of the earliest rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations. Earlier this month, MEUW, in cooperation with WPPI Energy, submitted comments to DHS in an effort to ensure essential workers at our member utilities are considered in the state prioritization process. We will continue to monitor this and provide updates as they become available.
Notes from recent association meetings are online: Draft minutes from two recent MEUW meetings are now online and available at the links below.
- The Executive Committee of MEUW’s Board of Directors held its regular every-other-month meeting on Dec. 2.
- MEUW’s Board of Directors met by Zoom on Dec. 9 to approve the association’s 2021 budget and handle other business.
The next regular meeting of MEUW’s Board of Directors is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15. For an up-to-date listing of MEUW Board members, click here.
The December edition of Live Lines was distributed last week. In case you missed it, you can find it online here.
MEUW Board change: MEUW Board President Brian Knapp has appointed Casey Engebretson, General Manager of Black River Falls Municipal Utilities, to serve as Alternate Director for District 2 on MEUW’s Board of Directors, until the association’s Annual Meeting in 2022. District 2 includes Arcadia, Black River Falls, Marshfield, Medford, Merrillan, Stratford, Whitehall, and Wisconsin Rapids. He replaces John Fales, who has retired; the appointment was approved by the MEUW Board of Directors at its Dec. 9 meeting.
Save the date for member call with PSC staff: MEUW will host a special question-and-answer teleconference for all members on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. The purpose of the call is to get answers and information directly from staff at the Public Service Commission (PSC) about upcoming regulatory reporting related to arrears management and collections policies. Call-in details and other logistics will be provided closer to the date.
As a reminder, there are three reporting requirements resulting from recent PSC action:
- All utilities are required to submit a quarterly report in the two open dockets related to the coronavirus by Jan. 15, 2021. Prior to the reporting deadline, the PSC will provide a single quarterly report format to cover the reporting for both the 5-UI-120 and 5-AF-105 dockets.
- Jan. 15, 2021, is also the deadline by which all utilities are required to submit comprehensive plans about how they’re proposing to address the financial impacts of arrears. Commission staff are expected to provide utilities with the format and instructions for filing these “Arrears Management Plans.”
- In addition, utilities that seek to disconnect residential service after April 15, 2021, must file disconnection plans with the Commission, no later than Feb. 15, 2021. It’s expected that these plans will take a similar format to those previously filed; PSC staff will provide more specifics.
Full details about these filing requirements are provided in the Commission Order issued on Oct. 29. The Jan. 5 call is intended to provide a forum for MEUW members to address specifics related to the filings.
Registration now open for one-day Transformer Workshops: In an effort to maximize cold-weather days for in-person training, MEUW has organized a one-day workshop on the fundamentals of single-phase transformers that will be offered during the week of Jan. 18, 2021. MEUW’s Randy Larson will lead each session. An overview of the topics to be covered is available here.
The workshop will be held in four locations across the state, with the goal of allowing utility crews to attend a session at a site nearer them to avoid an overnight hotel stay. Each session will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 2:30 p.m. Training will take place in the shop at each utility, and an extended lunch break will be on your own in order to safeguard against the spread of the virus.
The cost to attend is $25 per person, and the number of attendees will be limited to support social-distancing guidelines. Click on the date/location below to complete the online registration process at MEUW’s website.
- Monday, Jan. 18 – Fennimore Electric Utility
- Tuesday, Jan. 19 – Waupun Utilities
- Wednesday, Jan. 20 – Plymouth Utilities
- Thursday, Jan. 21 – Florence Utilities
Sign up to be part of virtual legislative rally: The 2021 American Public Power Association (APPA) Legislative Rally is shifting to an online event because of ongoing concerns surrounding the pandemic. The “virtual rally” is set for March 1-2, 2021. MEUW intends to again work closely with the WPPI Energy Government Affairs team to ensure participation from Wisconsinites is as strong as usual. The virtual format for 2021 offers those who have always wanted to take part to do so without the cost of travel or the burden of time away. There is no cost to participate.
If you’re interested in participating in the virtual rally, please fill out this form and submit it to MEUW so we can share more details when they’re finalized. (WPPI Energy members should send an email to Rebecca Kraemer instead of using the MEUW form). Please call the MEUW Office at (608) 837-2263 with any questions.
MEUW Weekly will be on hiatus for the holidays: We will not distribute an e-newsletter on Dec. 22 or 29. Also, the January edition of Live Lines will be published on Tuesday, Jan. 5, so the first edition of MEUW Weekly in 2021 will be distributed on Jan. 12. As always, we welcome your feedback about the news you receive from MEUW. Please use the Comment section below to “leave a reply” and share your thoughts. Thank you … and happy holidays!