Utility Accounting and Finance training is next week: The next session in MEUW’s popular and long-standing Management Training Program takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. The one-day session focuses on utility accounting and finance, and will be led by Jodi Dobson, a partner in the Energy and Utilities Group at Baker Tilly. Complete details about the topics to be covered and the instructor’s biography are available here. The Management Training Program provides education for existing managers, mid-level managers and future management prospects. Participants may start at any point in the six-session series and are recognized after completing the program.
The February edition of Live Lines was distributed last week. In case you missed it, you can find it online here.
Order copies of children’s book to share with your customers: MEUW member utilities are invited to be part a special purchase that will help to highlight the role of lineworkers, local utility ownership, and the benefits of public power. WPPI Energy created an illustrated children’s book — If I Were A Lineworker — in 2020, and is now making the award-winning book available for purchase by other public power utilities to share it with their community. (Your utility does not need to be part of WPPI to take advantage of this offer.) Orders are being accepted throughout the month of February. Utilities can also purchase a sticker and brand the book as their own. Orders will ship in March to allow utilities to distribute the books in conjunction with the celebration of National Lineworker Appreciation Day in April. Full details are available here.
The Executive Committee of MEUW’s Board of Directors held a regular meeting on Feb. 2. The draft minutes of their discussions are here (member log-in required).
Free webinar to explore federal grants available for municipal utility projects: Power System Engineering (PSE) is holding a one-hour webinar to provide an in-depth overview of numerous funding opportunities that will soon be available to Wisconsin municipal utilities. The funding is provided mainly through grants coming out of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. Potential eligible projects include LED street lighting, hydro generation modernization and/or repair, modernization of load management resources (diesel and/or natural gas), substation modernization/ replacement, distribution system reliability, behind-the-meter solar projects, broadband, cybersecurity, and more. The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 9 a.m. More details are available here. There is no cost to attend and pre-registration is not required.
Lineman University program planned for Feb. 24-25: MEUW’s “Lineman University” training seminar returns to an in-person format this year, on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24-25 at The Lodge At Mauston. Topics to be covered are useful for anyone who works in the field of electric power systems, construction, and maintenance. Individuals of all levels of experience are encouraged to attend. The training has been expanded to one-and-a-half days based on feedback from members who said an overnight stay supports more networking. The full agenda and registration details are available here. Questions should be directed to Randy Larson at (715) 559-7542.
Electric co-ops open up training to municipal electric employees: The Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA) is hosting two training sessions next week and they have space for employees of municipal electric utilities. Two separate sessions, each led by Hector Hernandez, are planned for Feb. 15 and 16 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Rothschild (click on the date for program details). To register, contact Wendy Fassbind at (608) 467-4589 or by email. The deadline is Thursday, Feb. 10.
First phase of annual Wage & Benefits Survey now underway: Every year, MEUW collects information about the pay and perks provided to public power employees across the state. Based on member feedback, this year’s data collection will happen earlier than normal — beginning in March — to enable the results to be shared in time for budgeting. Details about this year’s survey were recently shared with key contacts at each utility. We are currently gathering member input about any new questions. Full details about this year’s Wage & Benefits Survey are available here. As a reminder, only those utilities that provide information for the survey are able to receive the results. Last year, 67 of 80 eligible utilities (84%) responded.
Applications for Safety Awards are due March 1: MEUW enjoys recognizing member utilities for taking steps to improve their overall safety performance. We are now accepting applications for 2021 performance measures. Each utility is encouraged to take time to compile the necessary information and submit the application spreadsheet, which is available at MEUW.org/safetyawards. The deadline to submit the required documentation is Tuesday, March 1. The awards will be presented at the Annual Conference in May.