Wisconsin is well-represented at this week’s APPA legislative rally: Hundreds of public power leaders from across the country are gathered in Washington, D.C., this week to educate federal lawmakers about public power’s policy priorities and the work they do in their communities. Forty-nine delegates representing 19 Wisconsin municipalities are joining their fellow mayors, alders, utility commissioners, general managers, and others for meetings with Wisconsin’s congressional representatives, senators, and their staff members. The American Public Power Association (APPA) stages the rally every year to advocate for municipal electric utilities and provide a forum to engage legislators and policymakers about topics important to public power. Wisconsin’s delegation is typically among the largest to participate.
Governor appoints veteran state administrator to fill vacancy at PSC: Summer Strand, who has served as the sole citizen member of the State of Wisconsin Building Commission (SBC) since 2019, has been appointed by Gov. Tony Evers to serve a six-year term on the three-person Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC). An attorney by trade, Strand is Director of Government Affairs for the Walbec Group, a construction and engineering company. She previously served as Administrator of the Division of Facilities Development at the Wisconsin Department of Administration for nearly five years, including time as Secretary of the SBC. She lives in Waunakee. Her appointment is effective March 2, and fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Ellen Nowak.
Watt-Hour Meter Institute will highlight “ABCs of Electric Metering”: MEUW will host its annual metering workshop March 14-16 in Green Bay, and the program has a new focus for 2023. The yearly training helps meter technicians learn more about new technologies and approved work practices. Recognizing that lineworkers are often tasked with installing meter sets, this year’s workshop will provide a back-to-basics understanding for anyone who needs to expand their knowledge about the intricacies of meter installations and why the details matter. Through classroom and hands-on training, the program will benefit the beginner, intermediate, and experienced utility lineworker, covering topics like verifying and identifying metering inaccuracies, and choosing the correct metering equipment. The workshop is planned for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in Green Bay and the registration options allow for pricing to attend all or part of the three-day workshop. Full details are here.
First phase of 2023 Wage & Benefits Survey now underway: Every year, MEUW collects information about the pay and perks provided to public power employees across the state. 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 (data collection will begin next week). 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, 64 of 80 eligible utilities (80%) responded.
March 31 is deadline to nominate individuals for MEUW awards: Throughout our nearly 95-year history, MEUW has proudly recognized individual contributions and achievements toward advancing public power through awards presented at the Annual Conference. We are currently accepting nominations in a number of categories. Full details are available at MEUW.org/awards. To nominate someone from your utility or community, please complete the nomination form and submit it by March 31. Awards will be presented during a ceremony at MEUW’s Annual Conference on May 11.
NESC Code is changing ― learn how it affects your municipal utility: The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) is the go-to standard for electric and telecom utility companies. The code is updated every five years (the 2023 edition became effective Feb. 1). MEUW is holding a one-day seminar to enable members to learn about the fundamental applications of the NESC to electric utility transmission and distribution systems and be informed about the important 2023 updates. The seminar is planned for Wednesday, March 22, at The Lodge At Mauston and will be led by Bruce Beth and Justin Franz from Forster Electrical Engineering. The program will include group discussions and Q&A around rule interpretations, compliance issues, with information about resources for help. Full details and registration information is available on MEUW’s website here.
Register now for upcoming Credit and Collections Seminar: Every other year, MEUW holds a seminar to share information about the rules and regulations for utility collections and provide attendees with the most up-to-date details to make the process effective and efficient. This year’s seminar is planned for Wednesday, March 29. The agenda includes a refresher from the Public Service Commission (PSC) about disconnections, deferred payment agreements, deposits, and foreclosures. Attendees also will have a chance to get the latest about energy-efficiency programs and resources available to help customers who qualify for energy assistance. The complete agenda and registration details are available here.
Leadership training series kicks off April 5: MEUW is launching a new approach to its professional development programs this year. The first course in the new three-part “Municipal Utility Leadership Certificate” training series focuses on why collaboration is important to being an effective utility leader. Participants will take away practical ideas they can apply to becoming more collaborative and using persuasion with their teams and co-workers. The one-day training is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, in Mauston, and is designed for municipal workers of all skill levels and backgrounds as a foundation for developing leadership competencies. The discussion will be especially helpful for those who aspire to expanded responsibilities. Full details are available here.
Place your order for a new-edition safety manual: The American Public Power Association (APPA) has released the 17th edition of its Safety Manual, which features more than 200 changes (detailed here) and the addition of several new sections. This is the first new edition since 2017. APPA’s Safety Manual is the basis of the work practices in use at municipal utilities across the country, including in Wisconsin. It is strongly recommended that all utility line personnel and management have their own copy. As a service to member utilities, MEUW plans a bulk purchase of the updated manual for a price better than what an individual utility could get from APPA on its own. Orders should be placed through the MEUW Online Store. Manuals purchased from MEUW will be delivered to purchasing utilities during regular on-site safety training visits later this year.
Save the dates – MEUW Annual Conference: The 93rd gathering of MEUW members will take place Wednesday, May 10 through Friday, May 12. You won’t want to miss the chance to connect with municipal utility leaders from across Wisconsin and hear from speakers on a wide array of timely topics at MEUW’s Annual Conference in Green Bay. Visit www.meuw.org/annualconference to learn more. Reservations at Lodge Kohler, the conference hotel, are currently being accepted. Conference registration will open soon.