MEUW Weekly :: Dec. 17, 2019

Scholarship applications window opens this week: MEUW’s “Powering Futures” Scholarship Fund supports students pursuing careers in electrical power distribution. Recipients of the awards must reside in one of Wisconsin’s public power communities.

The scholarship is set up as an endowment with Wisconsin Rapids-based Incourage Community Foundation, which also administers the program. As an endowed fund, MEUW’s Powering Futures Scholarship will live on in perpetuity, awarding its annual earnings to support students pursuing a career as a Field Service Technician, Groundman, Lineman Apprentice, Electric Meter Technician, Substation Electrician Apprentice or Utility Technician.

The application period for scholarships to be awarded in 2020 opens on Dec. 18. The submission deadline is Jan. 31, 2020. For application instructions and additional details, visit MEUW’s Website.

Please help us spread the word about the scholarships: We’ve developed a letter that can be personalized and delivered to the high school principal or guidance counselor in your community. The letter (in a Word document) can be downloaded here.

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. 4.
  • MEUW’s Board of Directors met by teleconference on Dec. 11 to approve the association’s 2020 budget and membership dues.

The next regular meeting of MEUW’s Board of Directors is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15, at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. For an up-to-date listing of MEUW Board members, click here.

Wednesday is deadline to enter Readers’ Contest:  MEUW is holding a “Readers’ Contest” aimed at finding out what the locals are called in the 81 public power communities across Wisconsin. Full details are here. All responses submitted by the 5 p.m. deadline on Dec. 18 will be part of a random drawing for gift cards and MEUW merchandise, and the more responses received, the greater the number of prizes awarded.  You can enter the contest by completing the online form available here.

The used-to-be “Joint Sups” conference is coming up!  Remember to register for the 2020 Electric Operations Conference & Expo, which will be held Jan. 15-17 at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. The annual gathering – which was previously called the Joint Superintendents’ Conference – is organized by MEUW and the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA) and features a large trade show showcasing vendors who are part of the Wisconsin Utility Suppliers Association (WUSA). Full details are available here. The deadline to register is Jan. 10. Registrations received after Dec. 31 are subject to a late registration charge.

Provide feedback about proposed legislation: A draft legislative proposal that impacts procedures used during excavation around buried lines is making its way around the state capitol. Additional details about the bill are here.

Specifically, the bill would create a restriction on using power equipment that applies to an exposed underground transmission facility. If passed, the bill would require an excavator to maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches between the cutting edge or point of any power equipment and the exterior surface of an exposed facility. This restriction replaces the minimum clearance requirements under current law.

Wisconsin statutes (Chapter 182) define “transmission facilities” to include all pipes, pipelines, wires, cables, ducts, wirelines and associated facilities, whether underground or aboveground, regardless of the nature of their transmittants or of their in-service application. The term includes, but is not restricted to, utility facilities, government-owned facilities, facilities transporting hazardous materials, communications and data facilities, drainage and water facilities and sewer systems. The term does not include culverts.

We are interested in feedback about how the proposed bill may or may not impact municipal utilities’ operations. If you have specific insights to share, please contact MEUW Executive Director Tim Heinrich. MEUW will continue to monitor the bill and provide updates as needed.

The December edition of Live Lines was distributed last week. In case you missed it, you can find it online here.

Member Inquiry: Rose Schulze, Financial Manager of Sun Prairie Utilities, is asking MEUW member utilities to share any written procedures for miscellaneous Accounts Receivable. Specifically, invoices other than the typical monthly customer billings for metered electric and water usage. SPU has developed a draft list of items to be included, however, their only written procedure relates to the initial software entry used to generate an invoice, apply finance charges to past-due invoices, and run monthly statements. SPU is looking for what might be considered “best practices” for situations when invoices go past due (e.g., most often, when vehicle accidents result in damage to utility property). To share your input, please contact Rose directly at (608) 709-8345 or by email.

Register now for upcoming National Electrical Safety Code training session: MEUW is holding a National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) Seminar on Jan. 28 and 29, 2020, at Plymouth Utilities.

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 113, 114 and 119 code requirements. The complete agenda is available here. The registration fee for MEUW member utility employees is $175. To register, click here.

Registration open for Lineman University: MEUW will host a refresher training seminar for experienced lineworkers on Feb. 4, 2020, at Chippewa Valley Technical College’s Energy Education Center in Eau Claire. Based on member feedback, the program has been consolidated to a single day to make it easier for more to attend.

The daylong session will offer a variety of technical and safety presentations, hands-on training, insights about the latest equipment, and many networking opportunities. The morning will include breakout sessions to enable participants to get information about the topics that most interest them. The complete agenda and registration information is available on MEUW’s Website. The registration fee for MEUW member utility employees is $275.

MEUW Weekly will be on hiatus for the holidays:  We will not distribute an e-newsletter on Dec. 24 or 31. Also, the January edition of Live Lines will be published on Tuesday, Jan. 7, so the first edition of MEUW Weekly in 2020 will be distributed on Jan. 14. 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!

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