MEUW Weekly :: Feb. 9, 2021

Utilities planning for spring disconnects must file plan with PSC by Feb.15: As part of the ongoing docket (5-UI-120) related to the coronavirus, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is requiring utilities seeking to shut off residential service after April 15, 2021, to file a Disconnection Plan. The plan itself will be similar to previous plans that many utilities filed in this docket last summer. The Disconnection Plan is due Feb. 15. The PSC Commissioners are expected to discuss utilities’ plans and provide guidance related to the current disconnect moratorium at an Open Meeting on Thursday, March 11.

The PSC is providing a format for each utility’s Disconnection Plan, which must include the amount(s) past due that will trigger the issuance of a disconnection notice, deferred payment agreement requirements, the amount(s) required to be paid to avoid disconnection of service, and an estimate as to the number of customers that may be subject to disconnection. A preview of the questions and format for the 5-UI-120 Disconnection Plan is available here.

Any utility that intends to disconnect residential service after April 15, 2021, must answer the questions and submit the Disconnection Plan at this link no later than Monday, Feb. 15.

In addition, utilities have the option to continue to waive late fees in a non-discriminatory manner until April 15, 2021, provided they file such notification in PSC docket 5-UI-120. Utilities may also request a temporary credit card fee waiver tariff until further action by the PSC.

Updated announcements and resources related to COVID-19 are available on the PSC’s Website.

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

Communication, Time and Project Management in-person training next week:  This Friday (Feb. 12) is the deadline to register for the next workshop in MEUW’s six-session Management Training Program. Training on topics related to Communication, Time and Project Management will take place Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells. Click here to learn more and to sign up.

Sign up now for upcoming webinars: MEUW is hosting an Excavation Competent Person online training on Tuesday, March 2. The webinar begins at 8:00 a.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m. It will be conducted by Tim Palet, an instructor who brings decades of knowledge and experience. Upon completion, attendees will be certified as Competent Persons according to OSHA standards. This “virtual” workshop is a repeat of one offered in person last summer. The complete agenda and registration information is available here.

Tim Palet will also lead a webinar on the subject of Confined Space Entry on Tuesday, April 6. The three-hour webinar begins at 8:30 a.m. and is designed to refresh students on regulatory requirements and hazard controls for Permit Required Confined Spaces. Topics to include air monitoring, fall protection, ventilation, and non-entry rescue. Registration details are here.

Registrants for each of the webinars will require unique login credentials that cannot be shared. MEUW is pleased to provide these webinars in response to member feedback and to help maximize training opportunities in the wake of some utilities’ travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

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 2020 performance measures. Each utility is encouraged to take time to compile the necessary information and submit the application spreadsheet, which is available at The deadline to submit the required documentation is Monday, March 1. The awards will be presented at the Electric Operation Expo on April 29.

MEUW Annual Conference moved to August: In response to ongoing public health guidelines for large indoor gatherings, we have decided to reschedule the 2021 MEUW Annual Conference, which will now take place Aug. 11-13. The 91st gathering of public power leaders will take place in Manitowoc as planned, and we hope the new dates later in the summer will make it easier to safely gather. A golf outing is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 11. While the rescheduling may prompt some minor adjustments to the program, the majority of featured speakers and breakout session leaders have indicated they’re available for the new date.

Despite that change, in accordance with the association’s Bylaws, MEUW will hold its Annual Business Meeting on Friday, May 14. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom. Full details will be posted to MEUW’s Events Calendar.

Even though the Annual Conference date has changed, we are moving ahead with the Electric Operations Expo on Thursday, April 29. The Expo — to be held at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo — is being staged largely as an outdoor, open-air event, and we are taking all the necessary steps to conduct it in a safe manner. We have received strong interest from prospective trade show exhibitors and are looking forward to a successful event. Registration is expected to open on March 1.

WPUI offering programs of interest to MEUW members: Consistent with its mission to advance understanding and discussion of relevant utility industry topics and emerging trends in the electric, natural gas, and water industries, the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute (WPUI) is offering a couple upcoming programs that may interest MEUW members:

  • Public Utilities Law Update 2021 — Wednesday, March 3:  This annual program highlights the regulatory and legislative changes over the past year, including presentations from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin as well as from attorneys familiar with those recent changes.
  • Energy Storage — Tuesday, March 16:  This program will provide an overview of energy storage in the U.S., including discussion of policy changes and impacts. Expert panelists will examine how cutting-edge research is being put into practice, review a variety of recent applications of storage, and conclude with a discussion of lessons learned and the path forward.

Both sessions are being offered in a web conference format. For registration information and to learn more, visit WPUI’s Website.

If you missed Lineman University, it’s available for on-demand viewing: The presenters and topics covered during MEUW’s recent Lineman University Online received high marks from those in attendance. And now we’re making recordings of many presentations available for viewing by those who could not attend.

Six presentations — on a wide range of timely and informative topics — can be viewed on demand from any computer with an internet connection. They can be viewed one-by-one or you can binge the full five-plus hours of learning. A link to the Lineman U recording is available for a one-time fee of $350 per member utility. The link can be used by any municipal employee at any time; group viewing is encouraged to foster discussion of the important training subjects.

Click here to pay by credit card and receive access to download the on-demand sign-in details. (If you watched Lineman U when it was “live” on Feb. 2 and want access to the recording, please call Mallory Conradt at (608) 469-6009 for details.)

WattHour Meter Institute won’t be held in 2021: It’s a MEUW tradition that brings together utility workers of all types to learn about the latest in electric metering, with hands-on demonstrations, a vendor showcase, and multiple days of learning on a wide array of relevant topics. Social distancing and ongoing restrictions for indoor gatherings don’t mesh with the highly-interactive WattHour program, so we’ve decided to cancel this year’s workshop. Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2022 program, which is scheduled to be held from March 14-17.

PSC extends Annual Report deadline, adds new reporting requirement:  The deadline for utilities to file their 2020 Annual Report with the PSC has been extended to June 1, 2021.

Also, with an increased focus on equity and affordability issues, the PSC has added a new section to the 2020 report to collect information about workforce diversity. All utilities, regardless of size and ownership type, must complete Schedule XI and provide information for total employees, management employees, executive leadership employees, and governing board members in various demographic categories, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

The PSC is also collecting information about supplier diversity, however, municipal utilities are not required to provide that data for the 2020 report. 

The Water, Electric, Gas and Sewer Annual Reporting System Help Document on the PSC’s website is a good resource for guidance preparing the report.

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